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The US Department of Energy (DoE) has invested $52.5 million into the research and development (R&D) of clean hydrogen technologies.

The funding, which will benefit 31 R&D projects, falls under efforts to support the energy department’s Hydrogen Energy Earthshot programme, which is designed to reduce the costs of hydrogen by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram in one decade.

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The main aim is to ensure hydrogen plays a key role in accelerating the energy transition and ensures that the Biden–Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is achieved.

The announced funding includes $36 million from the DoE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)  and $16.5 million from the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM).

Nineteen projects are set to benefit from funding from EERE and will cover topics including:

  • Electrolysis to produce hydrogen using electricity and water, with improved manufacturing methods and streamlined assembly to reduce cost.
  • Clean hydrogen production, including biological and electrochemical approaches.
  • Fuel cell subsystems and components that are more efficient, durable, and designed for heavy-duty applications.
  • Domestic hydrogen supply chain components and refueling technologies.
  • Analyses to assess the cost and performance of fuel cell systems, hydrogen production pathways, and hydrogen storage technologies.

Twelve projects will be funded by FECM to research issues surrounding:

  • Degradation mechanisms and pathways in high temperature reversible solid oxidecells (SOC) materials that helps assess metrics about cost, performance, durability.
  • Performance, reliability, and durability for hydrogen production using reversible solid oxide cells (R-SOC) systems.
  • Cost reductions via improvements in materials, manufacturing and microstructure improvements in R-SOC technologies for hydrogen production.
  • Initial engineering design of a commercial-scale advanced carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) system from steam methane reforming plants.
  • Initial engineering design of a commercial-scale advanced CCUS system from autothermal methane reforming plants
  • Development of a gas turbine combustion system for 100% hydrogen fired and mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, said: “Part of our path to a net-zero carbon future means investing in innovation to make clean energy sources like hydrogen more affordable and widely adopted…

“These projects will put us one step closer to unlocking the scientific advancements needed to create a strong domestic supply chain and good-paying jobs in the emerging clean hydrogen industry.”

The 31 projects will focus on bridging technical gaps in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization technologies, including fuel cells.

Beneficiaries of the funding include West Virginia University that will use the funding to expand their R&D cooperation with the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

US Senator Joe Manchin, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, adds: “West Virginia University continues to utilize our state’s vast natural gas resources to tackle some of the toughest challenges in industrial research, including by developing clean, innovative ways to produce hydrogen – a fuel that’s increasingly important to our economy and has potential to decarbonize our energy systems, industrial processes, and the transportation sector.”

The University of California will be partnering with a subsidiary of Caterpillar, Solar Turbines Incorporated, to test how using renewable energy to produce clean hydrogen can reduce production costs.