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Below is the text version for the H2IQ Hour: The Latest on EERE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells R&D Portfolio webinar video, recorded on February 18, 2020.

Eric Parker, Fuel Cell Technologies Office:

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells program webinar, sponsored by the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office. Today, though, to kick things off, we have some exciting news to share. We're going to be launching a new series of webinars called the H2IQ Hour. This relaunch aims to refocus our webinars on enabling the better understanding of hydrogen and fuel cells and the work we fund to advance those technologies. And if you're active on social media, I definitely encourage you to share anything interesting or surprising or informative that you get from these H2IQ Hours, or anything else you see related to that with the #H2IQ in your posts. And we'll be announcing more exciting topics on this series soon. So with that, let's get started.

So to kick things off, this Webex call, as you heard, is being recorded and will be posted on DOE's website as well as internally. All attendees, however, will be on mute throughout the webinar, so please, please submit your questions as you think of them via the Q&A box you see on the slide here throughout the webinar, and we will cover those questions at the end of the webinar during our dedicated Q&A portion. So with that I would like to introduce the director of DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells program, as well as today's H2IQ Hour host, Sunita Satyapal. Hi, Sunita.

Sunita Satyapal, Fuel Cell Technologies Office:

... thank all of the stakeholders for all their support and all the interest and all the progress in hydrogen and fuel cells. And if we go to the next slide, I'll cover really the main topics today, which will be an update on the budget and key priorities, specifically the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations and plans; and then talk about some of the recent activities, including workshops, some highlights on targets, as well as new demonstration projects under our H2@Scale initiative; and then finally end with some collaborations and funding opportunity announcements. And if you go to the next slide, we will cover first of all a key priority within the office that we call H2@Scale, which is an initiative to enable affordable, reliable, clean, and secure energy across sectors.

And you can see the pictorial image that we've used that represents the concept that was developed by national labs, DOE, stakeholders, over the last couple of years. And I think most should be familiar with this display, but basically it shows the current electric grid in orange on the left; the natural gas infrastructure in gray at the bottom; and then what the opportunities are for hydrogen if we can enable production and end use across applications at scale. And so our program covers, if you go to the next click, early stage R&D. So we have FOAs, which stands for funding opportunity announcements, through the department. This is just one example. Either we have individual projects or we have consortia.

And so this shows one example where we have core teams primarily using core capabilities, unique state-of-the-art capabilities at national labs, and then we bring in through FOAs industry, university, other national lab partners, and then we also include later stage RD&D activities. And we leverage the private sector for large-scale demos, and so the box shows another example where we have government funding coming in on one side through H2@Scale Consortium, and then we have other mechanisms―CRADAs for example, cooperative research and development agreements, strategic partnership projects that used to be called work for others―where industry comes in and cost-shares some of the activities that are of relevance to industry.

And then we've also had FOA projects, specifically for demonstrations most recently, and I'll talk about some exciting new projects, Texas, Florida, and the Midwest, which complements a lot of the activities that are happening in California. And we've had about 25 projects as well under the H2@Scale Consortium.

So next we'll cover the budget, and in terms of the appropriations we have the Fuel Cell Technologies office within DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office. And you can see here the funding by year. And I should mention also that all of these slides will be posted online and available for you. But you can see hydrogen fuel R&D and infrastructure are really going to be combined. We're looking at that as one coordinated activity, so you can see some large increases there, again emphasizing the importance of addressing hydrogen infrastructure technologies.

And then we also have, from our appropriations, significant effort in technology acceleration, which includes activities such as systems integration, demonstration projects, integrating with the grid and so forth. I’ll talk a little bit more about that. And then recognizing the importance of safety, codes, and standards, you can see a bump up there, $10 million in our appropriations. And there was also an increase in the appropriations specifically in systems analysis as well.

So you can see $150 million total for Fiscal Year or FY 2020. And then pictorially in the top right, you can see the breakout here―again, the light and dark yellow emphasizing the importance of the hydrogen component, and then of course technology acceleration as well. And while EERE leads the hydrogen and fuel cell activities for DOE and has main responsibility for hydrogen and fuel cells, I also want to emphasize the other offices that we coordinate with. So there is also $30 million of appropriations for Fossil Energy that has traditionally funded solid oxide fuel cells. And Nuclear Energy as well this year has specifically $11 million that's been called out in the congressional language to partner with EERE on a nuclear-to-hydrogen demonstration, which I'll also talk about more.

And then there are other offices as well which we haven't included here, but you can see in the footnotes. We coordinate very closely with our Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences. And even though there's no specific appropriation specifically called out for applied hydrogen and fuel cell activities, after the year is over we allocate which projects, for instance, that may be relevant, such as catalysis and membranes and so forth, and coordinate closely. And ARPA-E projects as well―depending on the fiscal year and the specific programs selected, we coordinate very closely there as well. So that is a short update on the appropriations.

And if you go to the next slide, this shows you that our main interest, and what we're seeing from other stakeholders as well, and even internationally, is greater interest in end-use applications across sectors. Major increase in the interest in heavy-duty vehicles as well as industrial applications such as steel manufacturing, fertilizer production, also energy storage for critical loads, a lot of increasing global interest as well. And with our sister office in hydrogen plus CO2 to liquid fuels, as well as interest in natural gas blending, we're seeing especially in other countries' exports and so forth. And so we held three workshops―if we go to the next slide―as an example of looking at specific applications that can help to enable scale.

Essentially, how do we scale up the production, the infrastructure, the utilization of hydrogen across sectors? And so first we had a workshop last year on H2@Rail in collaboration with our sister agencies DOT―the Federal Railroad Administration, global industry. We do have rail, hydrogen trains, now in other countries, and the first contract for a train in the US announced very recently by San Bernardino. So we looked at issues such as total cost of ownership, what are potential applications. And then we had a workshop on H2@Datacenters. So here also the concept is that you can enable large volumes, large use of hydrogen at data centers, for instance for providing power to critical loads.

And then finally we had a workshop co-organized with our counterparts in Europe, European Commission’s FCH JU, as well as our sister agencies DOT, the Maritime Administration, and industry specifically on H2@Ports. So here the concept is, how do we look at hydrogen not only for maritime applications, but how do we create or really incentivize the regional or cluster-type strategy to build up local demand and scale, again enabling, for instance, co-locating supply and demand in not just maritime applications but also looking at trucks, so for instance drayage trucks and other equipment that may be used at a port facility has also been of interest. There's a lot of activity going on, for instance California and elsewhere.

And if we go to the next slide, industry has also emphasized the importance of long-haul trucks. So last year, one of the outputs of another workshop that we held with industry in all of our relevant agencies was a set of targets specifically for fuel cells for long-haul trucks. And this is just one example; we'll be looking at developing technical targets for other applications as well. And the information's available online. And again, the key here is a lot of industry feedback, input, and analysis, but these are really long-term stretch goals to help guide the R&D community. In some cases, especially in terms of the early market, there will be applications, trucks that will be competitive and viable for the near term.

But again, here the point is really to come up with these stretch goals to guide the technical, the R&D community on what would be needed in the long term for a highly sustainable and competitive market in this area. And one of the challenges that we've seen is hydrogen storage, on-board storage. We've been increasingly getting interest from industry on what more can we do in that area, and so we also had a workshop on compressed gas storage for medium- and heavy-duty transportation. And here I think, as most of the community knows, there is a lot of interest specifically in carbon fiber composite tanks.

And looking at carbon fiber cost, we have some effort looking at precursor cost, which is the largest component. Also looking at the overall cost of storage and the implication in terms of the station, especially if we can change the pressure, for instance, and then also the balance of the composite, so it's not just the precursor, but what are the other balance of composite issues. So we have information available on the website on this workshop and the previous workshops as well that I've mentioned, so feel free to look at those workshop presentations and proceedings. And then finally I'll touch on, in terms of an update, some of our analysis activities.

So we have our national labs that have been assessing resource availability for hydrogen across the nation, and this is just one example. Again, this was one that was shared previously, and various scenarios are being looked at. This is just one example, one scenario where the blue shows where hydrogen could be produced from, for example, solar and wind. The green circles show nuclear, and then the red, again in this one specific scenario, shows where local demand would exceed that local or regional supply―so again looking at where would the hydrogen come from. Of course, the next step is also looking at water availability.

And then if we click once more on the presentation, looking at the demand potential, so looking at what is the technical potential and the market or economic potential for different applications, and how does that affect the demand, so the supply and demand analysis that our experts from NREL and Argonne are continuing to evaluate and hopefully will publish soon. And then, very exciting, the orange boxes highlight new demonstration projects that we just announced, so congratulations to all the winners of our H2@Scale FOA just announced several months ago. And I'll highlight quickly the next slide, one example of one of the projects, and this is going to be in Florida.

This was selected where we have solar and an electrolyzer; we have integration with the grid; and then storage―the fuel cell will be used in both stationary applications and then also the project includes a mobile trailer for dispensing, and so really looking at an integrated system. You can see the partners on the right―again, congratulations to all of the winners. So you can see a three-year project, substantial funding here for this, and we look forward to getting this started. Again, these projects were just announced and so the negotiations are underway with DOE to finalize the scope of work. The next slide shows you a next-gen demonstration project.

So this is one that will be in the Midwest, and so the winner, Exelon, will identify one of their nuclear plants, potentially in Illinois or somewhere in the Midwest, and then would use a low-temperature PEM electrolyzer, and then produce hydrogen for on-site use, so for their own applications instead of trucking in their hydrogen, which is what they do now for turbine cooling applications. And so here also you can see at the bottom, concepts that will be explored for other end uses eventually for hydrogen―also feeding that power back possibly to the grid, looking at assessing long-duration storage. And so, again, this is just one example of a brand-new project in the Midwest that will include nuclear for the first time.

And we also have partnership with our Office of Nuclear Energy on this project. And the Office of Nuclear Energy, or NE, also has another brand-new project specifically including nuclear to hydrogen with FirstEnergy as well in the Midwest. So again, very exciting to have these nuclear to hydrogen projects now in our portfolio.

And then finally the third project, on the next slide, is an example in Texas, and congratulations again to the winners. You can see on the left top, interest in solar plus wind, also on-site electrolysis, and then looking at other applications such as the data center. And in addition, what's unique in this one is a concept looking at renewable natural gas or landfill gas using an on-site steam-methane reformer, and then using that hydrogen for multiple applications.

And also part of this project was an assessment of a port strategy, so aligned with our H2@Ports concept. And you can see the partners on the right here. A lot of expertise coming from California through Frontier Energy, and then we have the University of Texas―a number of players as well for this project. Again, the negotiations are still underway for the final statement of work and final agreements, but I did think it would be valuable to highlight these. And then, finally, if we go to the next slide, I'd like to switch gears and talk about the importance of collaboration. As we move forward we will be strengthening in our collaborations, and the next slide just shows you one example.

I'll start with international collaborations. And for some who are not aware, IPHE, the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy, was established in 2003, has approximately 20 countries, the European Commission, and coordinates to accelerate progress in hydrogen and fuel cells. And we have a number of other partnerships that have been formed. So again, to highlight mission innovation, there's a hydrogen challenge launched in 2017 by Australia; we have the Clean Energy Ministerial New Hydrogen Initiative launched in 2019 by Canada; the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial at the bottom, or HEM, by Japan in 2018 and 2019; and of course a very long-time, historical partnership with the International Energy Agency since the 1970s.

So again, lots of activity, lots of information and coordination at the government level as well as with industry. So you can feel free to look at the social media. And if we click one more time, we can show you the website, iphe.net. Again, this is a very rapidly moving field, so please feel free to stay tuned, and feel free to give us feedback as well on what more you'd like to see. And in a spirit of reducing stovepipes and strengthening partnerships among the partnerships and also across sectors, the next slide shows you an example of what we're doing between some of these initiatives. So we have within the Clean Energy Ministerial, or CEM, the Nuclear Innovation CEM Initiative Clean Energy Future, or NICE.

And through our Office of Nuclear Energy, in partnership with IPHE and the CEM Hydrogen Initiative with Canada, and other countries and co-leads, there will be a webinar with a number of countries, so please feel free to stay tuned, mark your calendars for March 18, and again we'll post these slides so you can see where to register. Some of these CEM webinars get 600 people or so that participate worldwide, so again it's a good opportunity to see what's happening for the first time here with nuclear plus hydrogen partnering together to give you information.

And so if we keep going, one other example of collaboration that I'd really like to emphasize, it’s of critical importance to us, to all of us, is the importance of hydrogen safety. And so I have announced this before, but there's been increasing interest to emphasize and continue to spread the word regarding this collaboration. And it's a collaboration that's modeled after the large industrial process safety center that was established with over 200 members of large industry that shares information on process safety, that was launched by AIChE. And AIChE has access to over 110 countries, 60,000 members, and so our Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as a result of feedback from our federal advisory committee, HTAC, partnered with AIChE to launch this global center for hydrogen safety―you can look at the website aiche.org/CHS―and already has over 40 partners from industry, government, academia; partnership with the Hydrogen Council, which is a major partnership with over 80 CEOs now committing to support and accelerate progress in deployment for hydrogen; with IPHE; with a number of various partnerships emphasizing the importance of safety, sharing lessons learned, best practices. So again, really wanted to, in the spirit of collaboration and the importance of safety, emphasize the CHS.

And then finally I think I'll end with hot-off-the-press―on the next slide―just last week one example of another international and domestic partnership building upon the success of our H-Prize. And you may know that there are a number of inducement prize competitions within DOE and other agencies, and we have the H2Refuel H-Prize where we awarded a million dollars to the winner, SimpleFuel, that developed a small-scale standalone system or appliance that would use only water plus electricity to produce hydrogen at small scale, so 1 kilogram in less than 15 minutes, to complement the large retail stations and be used either as a backup, or for forklifts, or where there's no access or no availability of large commercial retail stations.

So we did have a project station here, an R&D station in Washington, DC that some of you are aware of. It was a four-year R&D project, an excellent partnership with industry on the cars, getting data, providing feedback on additional needs, and also education and outreach regarding the vehicles and the technology. But that station is now being decommissioned, as always planned. It was intended to be really an R&D project for four years in partnership with the National Park Service. But now we were very pleased with this announcement, and you can see our undersecretary on the right and the vice-chairman from Hyundai on the left, where they will be providing us with five Hyundai Nexo fuel cell cars, and we will be getting data also, installing the Simple Fuel units here in D.C., and then also sharing the vehicles with our national labs and sister agencies to continue to get data, provide feedback to the program. Again, that's just one example.

And so now let me move over to perhaps one of the most exciting parts of the webinar, and that is our funding opportunity announcements. So if we go to the next slide, here I want to emphasize that we had―I think that the very first funding announcements out of the building January 23 at the DC Auto Show announced by our undersecretary of EERE, funding opportunity announcements. And he oversees basically a number of offices, especially with our new secretary, and also has taken over deputy secretary responsibilities as well. So we had three FOAs. Again, all of this will be provided. It was in the press release.

But the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells FOA out of our office―concept papers due February 25, and I'll cover some of these topics. The Vehicle Technologies Office also has a FOA out, concept papers due February 21. And then the Bioenergy Office as well, with $96 million. And the key here that I want to emphasize is that there could be topics that are of relevance to the hydrogen and fuel cell community, so definitely feel free to take a look at all of the FOAs. And obviously, since the FOAs are open, I will not be discussing any of them in detail. And if we go to the next slide, this is what's already available online in the FOA, and this is our FOA here, which has six topics.

Electrolyzer manufacturing, as we've heard, is of growing importance, not just early-stage R&D but manufacturing R&D. Advanced carbon fiber for tanks as well. I mentioned the importance of heavy-duty vehicles, trucks specifically of interest, both membranes, especially for durability, and domestically manufactured fuel cell stacks and systems, Topic 3. And then the next two topics look at some of the new applications that I mentioned. So for instance looking at what would be required to enable steel manufacturing using hydrogen, the HySteel, Topic 4. And then Topic 5 includes new market demonstrations with the maritime industry and then data centers.

And then finally we have, for the first time, Topic 6, a training and workforce development topic that will help establish opportunities for the next generation in emerging work force development activities that are going to be critical as we see hydrogen and fuel cell activities continue to increase in deployment.

So the next slide, again, all of this is posted online, and we won't speak in any detail, but if there are questions about the FOA, you need to submit your questions through the official process. And just want to emphasize that it's important to study and understand the criteria. And obviously, we have merit and innovation, the impact of technology advancements―the first criteria, 50 percent.

The second criteria deals mostly with the research approach, the work plan, the SOPO, also looking at what the potential risks are, how would you address those risks, the baseline where we are today, what are the metrics, the deliverables. Also in the standard FOA there's a market transformation plan that's not applicable to Topic Area 6, which is the work force and training topic, but there is, and again, the standard FOA requirements, impact assessment for the Topic Area 6. And then finally, three―again the standard is looking at the team and the resources, the ability to address all the aspects of the project, sufficient facilities to conduct the work, and also the ability to expedite and facilitate further development, commercial deployments, and achieving those deliverables. Also ensuring adequate participation by the participants, so not just a very small percent of the time, and not only proposing in name. Lastly the reasonableness of the budget, the spend plan, and so forth―so all the details. Again, this is very standard, but we emphasize that all potential applicants should study these carefully.

And the next slide shows you the timeline. So here we have concept papers due February 25. So that's coming up very soon, and I cannot overemphasize the importance of good proposals, good concept papers. Those are encouraged or discouraged for full proposal submission, so it's a very important first step.

And there's a significant effort in the full proposal submittal, and so that initial step is critical and helpful for applicants. And although any applicant can apply, even if discouraged, but historically the likelihood that entities win full proposals after submitting concept papers that were not strong is not very high, it's not a high likelihood. So again, the concept papers on February 25, a critical step, and then of course the full proposals as well. Again, on behalf of all of us at DOE and in the Office, we emphasize the importance of paying attention to all the criteria and all the instruction in the FOA. So February 25, again, a key date there.

And then the next slide also emphasizes a key date. The top left shows February 28, and that is the opportunity through our Nuclear Energy sister office. As I mentioned, there is specific appropriations language that talks about us working jointly for a nuclear to hydrogen demonstration, looking at potential synergies. Again, the bullets show just some examples that are of interest to the community, but to learn more about the FOA feel free to go to the website. There's also a frequently asked questions website. And this is an open FOA run through our sister office NE. And again, we encourage applicants that are interested to apply.

And I should have also mentioned that for our other FOA there is a teaming website option as well, to see what potential partners are interested in forming teams.

And then the next slide is another example. You can see the theme here that I'm trying to convey is the importance of partnership and collaboration, and so here we have an interagency, and also intra-agency, collaboration with our sister office, the Vehicle Technologies Office, and the Department of Defense. So we have Army Corps, we have former TARDEC or GVSC, and the concept here is what we call H2Rescue, or H2theRescue. So here the concept is having a truck that would be fueled by hydrogen, so a hydrogen fuel cell/battery―they typically have batteries and fuel cells―that would run on hydrogen and then go to a disaster site, for instance, and then provide power as well as the potential for heat and potable water, and be able to meet the requirements, so for instance the 72 hours or the various specific requirements.

And so please feel free to take a look at that FOA. And we have a little bit more time there, March 31, and $2 million there with industry cost share. And then finally, I think that's the end of the FOA topics, so I'd like to end with the importance of STEM activities in the Department. So we have a number of activities, a high priority for the Department of Energy as well as other agencies and stakeholders within the nation.

And I'd like to acknowledge actually the interns and the fellows that we've had here in our office, both now and over the years, some of whom have actually become federal technology managers, or they've joined industry or policy-related fields. Even some of them are still in hydrogen and fuel cells. And so here I'd like to emphasize a couple of opportunities, student internships. So this is the time of year, especially if any of you have students or post docs, others interested. So the first is a student internship opportunity, the MEISPP program on the left. So we have eight to ten week summer internships with DOE and national labs.

And then we also have a student volunteer internship program, the SVIP program. And in some cases, in fact, we have two now on board, another one coming, where they get credit, so college credit for working and getting experience at the Department. And so MEISPP and SVIP, so feel free to look up instructions on the website. Again, we'll post all of these. And then I'd also like to emphasize, in the next slide, a specific opportunity through our ORISE Fellowship program. And here we get fellows―these can be junior or even senior, mid-career or even late-career or retirees, sometimes, who come in through the ORISE Fellowship program.

Typically they're two to five years at the most. And you can see a number of options here: hydrogen storage; as well as we've been interested in carbon fiber and composite tanks, for instance; hydrogen infrastructure there's a lot of interest; as well as fuel cells; also in solid oxide through our office in NETL there's interest. And these are periodically posted. Often they're open until they're filled, and so we really encourage U.S. citizens who are interested to take a look at any of these.

And then finally I believe the last slide is information and resources. So feel free to look up our Increase Your H2IQ information. There's a lot of slides available; H2tools.org as well. Mark your calendars again for National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day, October 8.

And soon coming up, before we know it, will be May 19, so please go to hydrogen.energy.gov to register in advance. Very popular; we get about 1,000 people. We have some very exciting news coming up for the plenary that starts at 1 p.m. on May 19, so please do go ahead and book your tickets and hotels and so forth. And with that, I would once again like to thank all of you. If we don't have time for questions―I don't see any questions, in fact, right now―but again, I think the main questions may be related to the FOA, but you should feel free to go to the website and make your requests formally through the process.

But once again, on behalf of the whole office, we'd like to thank all of the stakeholders. And with that, I will turn it over back to Eric.

Eric Parker:

Yeah, thank you so much, Sunita, for that awesome presentation. I hope everyone increased their H2IQ a little today. So we are gonna have a Q&A session right now. We have been getting some questions in during the webinar, but I'll remind everyone again if you do have a question right now, just go ahead and enter it in that Q&A box in the bottom right of WebEx. And we're also joined by Ned Stetson, a hydrogen fuels program manager here at FCTO to help tackle some of the questions. So we'll just get started, and I'll pose maybe some general questions, and then we'll dig into some more specific ones.

So to get things started we have a general question from the audience about, "I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about how much platinum group metals are in today's hydrogen fuel cells in say forklifts, cars, trucks, buses, tanks, ships, and other applications."

Sunita Satyapal:

Yes, thank you, Eric. I can take that. And obviously, depending on the system and the company, some of the details are not public. But in terms of various numbers that are shared publicly, they range from as high as 30 grams, for instance―our target has been less than 10 grams of platinum. And in the vehicles, for instance, if we're talking about large, heavy-duty applications where you need much higher durability, our target is 30,000 hours for example instead of the 5,000 or 8,000. For light-duty vehicles, then we expect there to be a higher amount of platinum. In terms of the independent analysis, looking at the state of the art of the technology in the lab scale, but projected for commercial, some of the recent results have shown that you could be at about 16 grams or so.

But again, this analysis is continuously updated. But again, the goal is less than 10 grams. And now, again depending on the system, we've seen various amounts reported, such as 30 grams.

Eric Parker:

Okay. This might segue pretty well into this question on the topic of targets, but someone's asking if you can give some references for understanding maybe the scale of application, or time scales for deployment for vehicles in the hydrogen fuel cell area.

Sunita Satyapal:

Yeah, so here also again―I didn't show all of our slides, but typically we show a snapshot of where we are in the U.S. in terms of deployment. We already have substantial deployment. So one of the earliest niche market applications that we helped to facilitate was the forklift example. So going back, some of you who may have been involved in the program years ago, over 10 years ago we had some of the early forklift demonstrations with our partner the Defense Logistics Agency. And then we had the Recovery Act and our market transformation program, which helped to launch several hundred just demonstrations.

And now we have about 30,000 already deployed, and in fact over 20, 22 million hydrogen fuelings just in the forklift market, so major companies that are using hydrogen fuel cell forklifts at warehouses and in their stores and so forth. So that's one example. Also in terms of deployment we have now over 8,300 commercial fuel cell cars that have been sold or leased in the U.S., mostly in California, again, because that's where most of the retail stations are, about 45 or so. And then about 500 megawatts or so of stationary power, several thousand units of backup power, for instance with cell phone towers. There are about 35 buses or so in the U.S. And so, again, that gives you an idea, a snapshot of commercialization and some of the deployments.

Eric Parker:

Alright. Changing gears a little bit, away from transportation, we have a few questions on natural gas. Someone's inquiring if there's any ongoing or maybe planned R&D areas around natural gas thermocracking and also the status of integrating hydrogen into natural gas existing infrastructure in the U.S.

Sunita Satyapal:

Yes. So first of all there has been interest, increased interest, as well with our sister office Fossil Energy. We had funded natural gas to hydrogen for quite some time in the past. So conventional standard reforming is a widely used industrial process, and we have funded―and again, feel free to come to our AMR to see some of the projects―but innovative approaches to go from natural gas to solid carbon plus hydrogen instead of the conventional natural gas to CO2 plus hydrogen. So that's again just one example, to answer the question. And then the other question about natural gas plus hydrogen, there is definitely interest in blending, especially in some other countries such as the UK, that's looked at blending to start with, but even a complete transition to hydrogen pipelines, for instance for home or district heating.

And so we in fact had a joint workshop, an international workshop through IPHE and Mission Innovation in the UK, specifically looking at some of the challenges and opportunities for blending with hydrogen and natural gas. And we also, again for those that are interested, feel free to contact us or go to look up H2@Scale on our website for partnerships or opportunities to collaborate with our national labs. And we have one of the consortia―which I didn't mention this time but again will mention in a lot more detail at the AMR―and that is our H-Mat, or Hydrogen Materials Consortium, that will look at compatibility and materials issues, for instance with hydrogen and natural gas, for not just pipelines in various materials, metals, polymers, but we've started to look at investigating end-use applications as well.

Eric Parker:

Great. I've got a question here that dives a little bit more into storage that maybe Ned can tackle. So we have a participant asking, "Are there technical challenges regarding tanks for medium-duty, heavy-duty specific, or more pronounced on those platforms than light-duty vehicles would benefit from that work under the banner of MDAC be able to translate easily to LDV, especially maybe in terms of cost savings?”

Ned Stetson, Fuel Cell Technologies Office:

Thank you for the question. Overall, a lot of the challenges are very similar between light-duty and heavy-duty when it comes to tanks. The tanks of course are gonna be much larger onboard the medium- and heavy-duty trucks. For the class 8 trucks typically we're looking at more than ten times as much hydrogen being stored on board. So part of the question is where do you actually locate the tanks? Do you put it behind the cab? Do you put it outside the rails? Do you put it between the rails on the truck? Also, the tanks have to last a lot longer. These class 8 trucks usually are rated about a million miles, so therefore the tanks expect to see a lot more cycles than you would on a light-duty vehicle, and also the fact that they have to be refueled much faster.

So in the light-duty car we're looking at three to five minutes to fill about five kilograms. On a truck we're looking to fill up to 80 kilograms in a matter of less than ten minutes. So, again, we're still trying to understand the impact of the fast refueling on the tanks onboard a truck. Overall, they can be very similar. However, some of the challenges may be more pronounced on a truck.

Eric Parker:

Great. Thank you, Ned. We also have some questions about R&D needs for areas like, let's see, high-temperature heat for industrial uses, maybe we can address a little bit?

Sunita Satyapal:

Okay. So in terms of high-temperature heat, if the questioner can clarify what temperature, that may be valuable. But in terms of fuel cells, one of the areas of interest that industry has had―and some of this has been funded through our Advanced Manufacturing Office, AMO, previously called ITP, Industrial Technologies Program―but they're basically very high temperature, so 800°, 1000°C, Those are solid oxide fuel cells. Right now most commercial systems are using them primarily for electricity, as opposed to the CHP option. But then you also have lower temperature, for instance 300°C, as an option as well.

So again, it depends on the application that's of interest and what temperature requirements you have. But one other area maybe I'll also mention, just for awareness. Many people are not aware of this, but we had the first tri-gen, as opposed to co-generation, combined heat and power, where you can provide the power and the heat, for instance for industrial applications. We had the first tri-gen system demonstrated with industry partners and state agency partners in California, with Fuel Cell Energy, Air Products, and the Orange County Sanitation District, which had a 250 kilowatt fuel cell that provided power and also is capable of providing heat, and also co-produced hydrogen as well for potential use.

So that may also be of interest, I know. And then finally, if the question was related more about the hydrogen production side, here, too, especially with our nuclear program but also looking at high-temperature solar approaches, for instance, you could use some of the heat to help essentially reduce the electricity requirements for electrolysis. So high-temperature electrolysis or other thermochemical cycles can also make use of some of the heat. So I'll pause there, Eric. I know we may have to start wrapping up now to sign off, so I'll turn it over back to you.

Eric Parker:

Yeah, we have time for a little bit more in terms of questions. We did have a question about how FCTO is utilizing the capabilities of national labs. And particularly they mention the great workshops we'd already had on ports and rail and data centers, and were wondering if there were any future work considered in the commercial aerospace sector as part of H2@Scale.

Sunita Satyapal:

Yes. I'll take that, and then Ned can feel free to chime in as well. But basically, as some may know, we have 17 national labs within the DOE complex, and we work with over 12 of them now―12, 13 labs. And we have a number of consortia where we have labs that have core capabilities―for instance, HydroGEN, for producing hydrogen; HyMARC, Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium, for solid-state, for example materials that can store hydrogen as well as carriers; and then we have ElectroCat, which is focused on eliminating platinum group metals for catalysts; and then we have the FCPAD, Fuel Cell Performance and Durability.

And so the labs have unique capabilities. The plan is really to really leverage those unique capabilities, avoid duplication, and accelerate progress instead of just having one project at a time and having to reapply. These labs have these unique capabilities, and then we bring in industry, university, or other national lab projects and innovative concepts to really make use of this innovation ecosystem, if you will, through the consortia. So I apologize, Eric; I didn't hear the second part of the question.

Eric Parker:

It was particularly interested in if we were exploring opportunities in the commercial aviation sector as the other sectors as part of H2@Scale.

Sunita Satyapal:

Yes, thank you. And so as some of you may have seen with our theme with H2@Rail, H2@Datacenters, H2@Ports, we have another workshop also planned to look at H2 not just in air, but H2@Airports. And so looking at the potential, we've gotten lots of industry interest for instance for drones or other applications where you need a longer range, or where the heavy payload due to batteries wouldn't be sufficient. And so both analysis as well as industry feedback is something that we're planning. And I think Ned also might have something to add on that. Possibly on the interest with hydrogen for aviation applications, especially from the storage perspective.

Ned Stetson:

Well, we're definitely looking at that. There's a lot of interest in the use of urban aerotaxis, like the company Alaka'i announced that they used liquid hydrogen. There's been several others which have announced looking at different ways of storing hydrogen. The issue is that you really need high energy density, so that's where―as you mentioned, the hydrogen carrier work―we're looking at how we can actually provide both high energy density, so high energy by high volume, as well as high energy by mass, so specific energy, which could fit into the aerospace sector. So that is all under consideration right now, so I anticipate in the future you will hear more about that.

Eric Parker:

Great. So keep a lookout for that from us. And I'm gonna end on this question, because I think it's important, and then we'll wrap up. So, quickly, we have someone asking about how certain industries have apprehension about when it comes to the safety of hydrogen storage, so I wanted to see if either you, Sunita, or Ned could just talk a little bit about what we're doing to educate local authorities on hydrogen safety.

Sunita Satyapal:

Yeah, thanks, Eric. And it's always valuable to emphasize again, as I tried to, the Center for Hydrogen Safety. We've had a long-standing program, safety, codes, and standards. And I think many of you know Laura Hill. And we have, in fact, in terms of education and outreach, over the years reached over 36,000 code officials and so forth―education activities, fire marshals. We have a Hydrogen Safety Panel as well. Projects that receive funding from us submit a safety plan. And if you go to H2Tools, again lots of resources. Trying to consolidate through this public/private partnership with the Center for Hydrogen Safety, there's a lot of information, lessons learned, best practices.

And again, hydrogen is a fuel just like any fuel, and so it's flammable, just like any fuel is flammable; it just has different properties and has to be handled appropriately, as do other fuels. And so that's a good question, and a good reminder again to put a final plug in for the Center for Hydrogen Safety and our other resources that are available.

Eric Parker:

Okay, and I guess we have time for just one more quick one. Could you talk real quick about green steel production?

Sunita Satyapal:

Yes. And so again, we have a lot of information, and some may know that one of the first plants in operation was in Austria. And here the idea is, again, a lot of interest in decarbonizing steel production. And there are different approaches. Again, I won't be able to talk too much about this because we do have an open FOA topic related to it. So in the interest of time maybe I'll point the listener to that. But there's really looking at two aspects. One is just replacing the use of coke, essentially, or natural gas, to use hydrogen in the process. So when you mine iron, you basically have a reduction step where you can use hydrogen as a reducing agent instead of the conventional process.

And then there's also―to answer the question in the one-second version―is there are also other innovative approaches: direct reduction, flash iron making, for instance―FIT, flash iron-making technologies―as well. So again, there's both opportunities. Now, again, the big challenge in the U.S. is the cost of natural gas is so low, so the hydrogen cost needs to also be low to be competitive. But also looking at innovative approaches for iron reduction and manufacturing steel. So both of those again are covered, for those interested, in our FOA topics. So, I'll turn it back to you, Eric.

Eric Parker:

Great. Yeah, I think that's a great way to end it. So please check out those FOA topics. So that does wrap up our presentation for today, the H2IQ Hour. If we didn't get to your question, please feel free to reach out directly and we'll do our best to address it. But I'd like to thank everyone for joining today, and remind everyone we will be posting these slides, as well as the full presentation, online on the FCTO website. So please go check that out, and join us on social media using the H2IQ hashtag. So with that I'll wish everyone a great rest of your week, and good-bye.