Today, the Energy Department (DOE) announced approximately $30 million in available funding, subject to appropriations, for research and development of low-cost hydrogen production, onboard hydrogen storage, and proton exchange membrane fuel cells to advance the widespread commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicles. Selected projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE's Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year, in support of DOE's materials research and advanced manufacturing priorities.

The fuel cells market is growing rapidly, and has seen an annual growth rate of 30% every year since 2010 as well as $2 billion annual revenue in 2014. Light duty vehicles are an emerging application for fuel cells that already enable 95% lower petroleum consumption per mile than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. 

Applicants to this funding opportunity announcement (FOA) will collaborate with national lab consortia launched within the EMN. The EMN consortia have been established to make unique, world-class capabilities at the national laboratories more accessible to industry, facilitating collaborations that will expedite the development and manufacturing of advanced materials for commercial markets. 

The FOA topics include:

  • Topic 1: PGM-free Catalyst and Electrode R&D—this topic will leverage the Electrocatalysis Consortium (ElectroCat) to accelerate the development of catalysts made without platinum group metals (PGM-free) for use in fuel cells for transportation.
  • Topic 2: Advanced Water Splitting Materials—this topic will leverage the HydroGEN Consortium to accelerate the development of advanced water splitting materials for hydrogen production, with an initial focus on advanced electrolytic, photoelectrochemical, and solar thermochemical pathways.
  • Topic 3: Hydrogen Storage Materials Discovery—this topic will leverage the Hydrogen Materials—Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC) to address unsolved scientific challenges in the development of viable solid-state materials for hydrogen storage onboard fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
  • Topic 4: Precursor Development for Low-Cost, High-Strength Carbon Fiber for Use in Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Applications—this topic will aim to reduce the cost of onboard hydrogen storage necessary for FCEVs.  Applicants for this topic will be encouraged to collaborate with LightMAT, a consortium launched by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office to enable light-weighting of vehicles through the development of high-strength steels and carbon fiber.

Concept papers are due December 20, 2016 and full applications will be due February 21, 2017. More information, application requirements, and instructions can be found on the EERE Funding Opportunity Exchange website.

The Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and deployment for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security and economic vitality. Learn more about the Energy Department's broader efforts to develop affordable, efficient fuel cell and hydrogen technologies on EERE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells page.