Happy New Year, and welcome to the latest edition of @H2News, the newsletter of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), with collaboration from other offices in the DOE Hydrogen Program. This newsletter is a quarterly resource that includes a recap of news and events from the previous three months, as well as a preview of upcoming activities. Please visit the archives for past newsletters. 

In this issue:

  1. Highlights from 2023—a Big Year for Hydrogen!
  2. In the News
  3. Funding Opportunities
  4. Events, Workshops, and Webinars
  5. Studies, Reports, and Publications
  6. Spotlights
  7. Engagement Opportunities
Hydrogen tanks with clear blue sky in the background

Highlights from 2023—a Big Year for Hydrogen!

2023 was a pivotal year for clean hydrogen. For decades, DOE has been laying the foundation for a clean hydrogen economy, driving down costs and improving technologies through research, development, and demonstration. The past 12 months saw much of that work pay off. Industry announced unprecedented investments in clean hydrogen production, the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs are launching some of DOE's largest-ever demonstration projects, and partnerships continue to grow and strengthen across the federal government and around the world. Read more about major milestones for clean hydrogen in 2023.

In the News

DOE Announces $7 Billion for America's First Clean Hydrogen Hubs

In October, DOE announced the selection of seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs), which will receive $7 billion in funding. The selected H2Hubs will accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost clean hydrogen across the nation. Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and managed by DOE's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), the H2Hubs will kickstart a national network of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure while supporting the production, storage, delivery, and end-use of clean hydrogen. The H2Hubs are a key pillar of the national clean hydrogen strategy and are aligned with the priorities of the Hydrogen Interagency Task Force, which is coordinating a whole-of-government approach to advancing clean hydrogen. Funding for the seven selected H2Hubs is subject to award negotiations.

DOE Selects Consortium to Bridge Early Demand for Clean Hydrogen

In January, OCED announced the selection of a consortium to help accelerate commercial liftoff of the clean hydrogen economy and support the launch of the H2Hubs. The consortium—which consists of the EFI Foundation, a leader in clean hydrogen economy development, in partnership with the commodity markets information experts S&P Global and the financial exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange—will design and implement demand-side support mechanisms for unlocking the market potential of the H2Hubs.

Treasury, IRS Release Guidance on Clean Hydrogen Production Credit

In December, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service released proposed regulations on the Clean Hydrogen Production Credit established by the Inflation Reduction Act. A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Register on December 26. All questions and comments should be submitted through the NPRM comment process during the official comment period, which ends February 26, 2024.

Clean Hydrogen Takes Center Stage at COP28 in Dubai

In December, clean hydrogen had a big role at COP28: the United States endorsed a pivotal declaration on hydrogen certification, DOE Deputy Secretary Turk announced a report in support of Hydrogen Shot (see “Studies, Reports, and Publications” section below), and the Sustainable Development Goals Compass for hydrogen was launched.  

Funding Opportunity for Clean Hydrogen Includes up to $9 Million to Address Important Issues for Local Communities

In December, HFTO announced that two topics in its new funding opportunity will focus on ensuring the benefits of federal investments in clean hydrogen are equitably shared and that disadvantaged communities are not overburdened with health concerns and safety risks. The topic areas are designed to enhance community engagement; advance permitting, siting, and installation processes; and improve information sharing about hydrogen safety. 

A group of seminar attendees giving a thumbs-up gesture

U.S. and Mexico Officials Convene at Clean Hydrogen Seminar in Mexico City

Government and industry leaders from the United States and Mexico gathered November 14–15 in Mexico City at the Climate Change, Green Energy, and Clean Hydrogen Business and Technical Seminar to explore and advance clean hydrogen strategies and standards.

DOE Congratulates IPHE on Its 20-Year Anniversary

In early October, DOE congratulated the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) as it celebrated 20 years of international collaboration and coordination on clean hydrogen. Founded in 2003, IPHE is an independent entity that functions as a direct government-to-government partnership to facilitate and accelerate the transition to clean and efficient energy and mobility systems using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies across applications and sectors. 

Six leaders from DOE and IPHE sit at a conference table in front of a row of flags from multiple countries.

International Hydrogen Partnership Launches Groundbreaking H2-DEIA Platform

In partnership with the Hydrogen Council, the IPHE announced in early October the launch of the H2-DEIA platform at the Hydrogen Americas Summit in Washington D.C. Committed to increasing diverse representation and building a culture of inclusion and equity, H2-DEIA serves a global purpose—uniting governments, industry, academia, non-profit organizations, research institutes, capital investors, and the broader stakeholder community to help shape a skilled, diverse workforce for the clean hydrogen industry. Jeff Marootian, DOE principal deputy assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, also highlighted H2-DEIA when he spoke at an event at COP28 in December.

Funding Opportunities and Prize Competitions

DOE Announces $59 Million to Advance the National Clean Hydrogen Strategy

In December, DOE released a funding opportunity announcement for up to $59 million to accelerate the research, development, demonstration, and deployment of affordable clean-hydrogen technologies.

DOE Announces up to $44 Million in Funding for Hydrogen and Other Critical Clean Energy Technologies

In November, DOE announced that it is seeking applications for the Fiscal Year 2024 Core Laboratory Infrastructure for Market Readiness Lab Call, which represents the combined effort of 14 DOE program offices, including HFTO and the Office of Technology Transitions.

Registration Now Open for the 2024 EnergyTech University Prize Collegiate Competition—Includes Clean Hydrogen Technologies

EnergyTech Up 2023 Presenters

Students and faculty interested in energy and entrepreneurship are invited to register for the 2024 EnergyTech University Prize (EnergyTech UP) Collegiate Competition. Sponsored by DOE's Office of Technology Transitions, this competition challenges student teams to develop and present business plans that leverage promising emerging energy technologies—including hydrogen and fuel cell technologies—developed by students, faculty, or industry, including technologies developed at U.S. national laboratories. Participating student teams will compete for a share of $400,000, as well as bonus prize money provided by HFTO and other DOE offices. Registration closes February 1, 2024.

Events, Workshops, and Webinars

DOE Co-Hosts Hydrogen Americas Summit and Exhibition

In October, DOE co-hosted the Hydrogen Americas 2023 Summit and Exhibition, connecting thousands of hydrogen professionals and stakeholders with industry and government leaders. The summit sessions highlighted industry strategies and breakthroughs and provided discussions on hydrogen policy, infrastructure, and investment across the Americas. Access the official Executive Summary of the event.

DOE Celebrates Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Week 

From October 5–11, DOE observed Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Week, a symbolic opportunity to celebrate hydrogen—clean hydrogen, specifically—and the crucial role this element plays in supporting a robust and equitable clean energy future for all Americans.

DOE Co-Sponsors Hydrogen Horizons Challenge in Singapore

From October 7–10 in Singapore, the Hydrogen Horizons Challenge featured student teams from 190 countries focused specifically on the important role of hydrogen in our global renewable energy and net-zero-carbon future. DOE co-sponsored the event, which was the 2023 edition of FIRST Global's annual youth competition focused on tackling the globe's energy challenges using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

H2IQ Hour Webinar Recordings and Presentations Are Available

H2IQ Hour Green

HFTO hosts monthly H2IQ Hour webinars to share information about the status and progress of DOE-funded hydrogen and fuel cell projects and initiatives, and to provide a forum for exploration and discussion of general hydrogen and fuel cell topics. Recent topics include:

Recordings and presentation slides are available on the H2IQ Hour webinar page.

Studies, Reports, and Publications

DOE Releases First in Series of Reports Highlighting Pathways toward Clean Hydrogen EarthShot

In December, DOE released Hydrogen Shot Technology Assessment: Thermal Conversion Approaches, a report on various thermal conversion pathways for clean hydrogen production, including technology status and envisioned approaches for achieving the Hydrogen Shot goals through research, development, and deployment advances. The next two reports in this series will provide similar assessments of hydrogen production from electrolysis pathways and from advanced pathways, such as photoelectrochemical, solar-thermochemical, and biological hydrogen production.

Spotlights

HyMARC Works to Advance Hydrogen Storage Using Various X-Ray Technologies 

The Hydrogen Materials Advanced Research Consortium (HyMARC), a team of five national laboratories funded by HFTO, is using x-ray science to develop clean, low-cost materials-based hydrogen storage systems.

Two scientists operate lab equipment at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source

Recently, the HyMARC Approved Program at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS) was renewed for the second time, underscoring the key role soft x-ray techniques such as x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), scanning transmission x-ray microscopy (STXM), and ambient-pressure x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (APXPS) have played in unraveling some of the greatest challenges blocking discovery of hydrogen storage materials. 

One mystery that ALS tools have helped resolve concerns the rate-limiting step controlling the release of hydrogen from a metal hydride. A common assumption is that the release of H2 through the recombination of hydrogen atoms at a particle's surface is fast. Therefore, subsurface processes, such as hydrogen diffusion, were expected to control the release rate. STXM experiments on lithium amide (LiNH2) revealed an inverse core-shell structure with a hydrogen-rich surface and hydrogen-free core. This means that the rate-limiting step needs to shift from internal hydrogen diffusion to the formation of hydrogen gas at the surface. STXM allowed the hydrogen content and nitrogen-bonding environment to be probed, easily distinguishing Li3N at particle centers from Li2NH at the surfaces.

HyMARC is now focusing much of its effort on understanding phenomena that emerge when quantities are raised to industrial scales. Access to ALS facilities remains essential. The high photon flux and ability to probe light elements will enable HyMARC researchers to detect small changes in laboratory-scale samples that could become problems when large amounts of storage materials are cycled over long periods of time.

HFTO Highlights Support for Community Benefits Plans During Justice Week 2023 (October 30–November 3)

Justice Week 2023: Equity Empowered

HFTO embraces Justice40 and incorporates it into our work by including a community benefits plan (CBP) requirement in our funding opportunity announcements, supporting small-scale demonstrations, and promoting workforce development. CBPs are an essential tool for environmental equity and justice because they help identify projects with clear and viable plans to ensure maximum benefits for local communities, and they require selectees to report on progress toward realizing those benefits to ensure that important proposed work is being done. HFTO funds several small-scale deployments of hydrogen technologies that directly benefit disadvantaged communities (DACs), including: 

  • A cooperative agreement with the Center for Transportation and the Environment to deploy fuel cell electric delivery vans in a DAC, reducing ambient air pollution in that community.
  • A microgrid project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the city of Borrego Springs—a DAC located in California—to use fuel cells to supply power during natural disasters and other power outages. This project further reduces reliance on diesel-powered generators, reducing air and noise pollution while improving grid stability.

Read more about HFTO's Justice Week 2023 highlights.

Phil Parilla of NREL Elected to American Physical Society's 2023 Fellows

Philip Parilla headshot

HFTO congratulates Dr. Philip Parilla, manager of the Thin-Film Material Science and Processing group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), on his election in October to the American Physical Society's (APS) 2023 Fellows. The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions in physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education. Each year, no more than one half of one percent of the APS membership are recognized by their peers for election to Fellow. This year, 153 Fellows were selected and recognized for their contributions to science.

Parilla's research interests cover photovoltaic materials, hydrogen sorption materials, thermoelectric materials and devices, carbon nanotubes, inorganic fullerenes, metal oxides for battery and electronic applications, and high-temperature superconductors. He is an expert in measuring the hydrogen sorption properties of materials using the manometric technique, and NREL serves as the validation center for HFTO's hydrogen storage efforts. 

Luigi Osmieri of LANL Receives Prestigious ISSNAF Award

HFTO congratulates Dr. Luigi Osmieri of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) on his recognition by the Italian Scientists and Scholars in North America Foundation (ISSNAF). Osmieri received the ISSNAF's Franco Strazzabosco Award for engineering research focused on sustainable energy. This award is part of ISSNAF's Young Investigator Awards 2023, which are presented in various disciplines to outstanding early-career Italian researchers working in the United States or Canada.

Navajo Technical University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, DOE Collaborate to Open Pathways to Careers in Clean Hydrogen

In November, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month, HFTO highlighted our ongoing support of LANL's partnership with Navajo Technical University (NTU)—the largest tribal college in the United States—to increase opportunities in STEM education, particularly for hydrogen fuel cell applications. Currently, there are seven NTU students and two professors working on additive manufacturing and fuel cell research as part of this collaboration. NTU plans to host LANL staff during the 2024 spring semester to showcase new electro-chemical equipment provided by HFTO.

Engagement Opportunities

Clean Hydrogen Fellowships Currently Available

HFTO encourages interested candidates to apply for available fellowships. These fellowships directly support the commitment shared by DOE and the White House to advancing innovative climate solutions and strengthening America's leadership in science and engineering, which are critical to achieving a carbon-free grid by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Recent graduates and experienced scientists and engineers are encouraged to apply—fellowship activities are flexible and can be adapted to each candidate's previous experience.

Illustrative hydrogen molecule with photos of office professionals and lab scientists inside the hydrogen atoms. Text says Join the Clean Hydrogen Workforce

Employment Opportunities and Internships

Interested in becoming a clean energy champion? HFTO has its own hiring page with open positions for technical experts to assist with the office's hydrogen production, hydrogen infrastructure, and manufacturing efforts. There are many other ways to get involved, too, including the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Science, Technology, and Policy Fellowships (such as the Hydrogen Shot Fellowship); careers; and internships. Stay up-to-date on EERE opportunities and subscribe to the EERE Career Opportunities email list

Become a reviewer! Help select hydrogen and fuel cell R&D investments

Interested in Becoming a Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Project Reviewer? 

HFTO is looking for a diverse pool of subject matter experts to review applications for federal funding programs. Desired areas of expertise include (but are not limited to):

  • Hydrogen production, storage, and delivery
  • Hydrogen fuel cell technologies
  • Hydrogen and energy infrastructure
  • Integrated energy systems
  • Manufacturing 
  • Recycling and recovery
  • System integration 
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Safety, codes, and standards.

Apply to be a reviewer today!

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