According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), one of the biggest challenge in the development of fuel cell electric vehicles is in how to store enough hydrogen – within the constraints of weight, volume, durability, efficiency and, particularly, total cost – to give the vehicle adequate driving range. This is a challenge the DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory has been working on, and now the DOE is extending the effort by awarding $7 million to fund four projects focused on developing safe, effective and economical hydrogen storage systems.
The $7 million was awarded to four different three-year projects. The recipients will put a total of $2 million into the projects, as well. Each project seeks to address issues with storing hydrogen for transportation and onboard electric vehicles, using a range of approaches to developing materials that can absorb a high amount of hydrogen to allow for compact storage systems.
The Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Washington state will receive up to $2.1 million and focus on lowering the cost of high pressure hydrogen storage tanks by improving materials and design. HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California stands to receive up to $1.2 million to investigate liquids that efficiently absorb and release hydrogen gas to enable high density, compact storage.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley already received funding in August and will get up to $2.1 million to test “metal-organic framework” materials with surfaces that allow a high amount of hydrogen. The University of Oregon in Eugene will receive up to $2 million to develop materials that will enable liquid refueling and regeneration of hydrogen storage material safe for onboard mobile and stationary fuel cell applications.
“As we focus on energy security, strengthening our portfolio to include domestically-produced hydrogen and American-made fuel cells for transportation and energy storage applications will create new jobs and reduce carbon pollution,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement accompanying the grant announcements.