The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $1.5 million in funding for five projects that will advance key clean-hydrogen technologies while growing the skills and knowledge of science and engineering students at Minority Serving Institutions. These projects will directly engage with emerging minority talent to reduce the costs of technologies for producing and using clean hydrogen and improve materials used throughout the hydrogen value chain.

Advances made in these projects will help achieve the Hydrogen Shot goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per 1 kg in one decade ("1 – 1 – 1") and support President Biden's vision for a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. The projects will also give participating students direct exposure to cutting-edge research, which will include engagement with DOE national laboratory researchers supporting their work and may include site visits to the labs.

Two projects were selected from the University of Texas at El Paso, one of the nation's largest federally recognized Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). University partners will have the opportunity to utilize the advanced facilities and expertise of the DOE national laboratories through collaboration with three consortia: HyMARC (Hydrogen Materials – Advanced Research Consortium), ElectroCat (Electrocatalysis Consortium), and H-Mat (Hydrogen Materials Consortium). The selected projects are:

  • Combustion Synthesis of Nanoscale Magnesium Borides with Improved Hydrogen Uptake and Release, which will produce advanced materials for hydrogen storage
  • Metal-Organic Framework-based Heterostructure Electrocatalysts with Tailored Electron Density Distribution for Cost-Effective and Durable Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers, which aims to reduce the cost of fuel cell and electrolyzer components by eliminating platinum group metals.

Two projects were selected from the University of California, Riverside, which is an HSI and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander–Serving Institution (AANAPISI) that has been recognized for having one of the most ethnically diverse student bodies in the nation. The selected projects are:

  • Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes with Confined Chalcogens as the Catalysts and Electrodes for Oxygen Reduction Reaction in Fuel Cells, which will investigate a new type of PGM-free catalysts for use in fuel cells
  • Large-Scale Density Functional Tight Binding (DFTB) Calculations to Probe Structural Effects and Bridge Multiple Length Scales in Hydrogen-Metal Systems, which aims to improve understanding of the effects of hydrogen on metals for developing improved materials.

One project was selected from California State University, Los Angeles, which is also a federally recognized HSI and AANAPISI. The selected project is:

  • Developing Highly Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks and Composite Materials for Hydrogen Storage, which aims to develop novel materials with improved capabilities for hydrogen storage.

Funding for these projects was provided by the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) through an amendment to a funding opportunity from the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). In addition to $1.5 million in direct project funding, $550,000 will be provided for national laboratory support of these projects.

Learn more about HFTO funding opportunities and FECM funding opportunities.