HydroGEN AWSM Energy Materials Network Overview Webinar: Text Version

Below is the text version for the "HydroGEN AWSM Energy Material Network Overview" webinar held on February 7, 2019.

Eric Parker, Fuel Cell Technologies Office

Good day, everyone, and welcome to the US Department of Energy's Fuel Cell Technologies Office webinar. We've got a great presentation this month from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on FCTO's HydroGEN AWSM Energy Materials Network Overview Webinar.

My name is Eric Parker. I provide program support within the Fuel Cell Technologies Office and I am the organizer for today's meeting. We will begin in just a moment, but first I have a few housekeeping items to tell you about. Today's webinar is being recorded and the full recording, along with the full slide deck, will be posted online and we'll be sure to let you know when. All attendees will be on mute throughout the webinar, so please submit your questions via the chat box you should see on your WebEx panel. We will cover those questions during the Q&A at the end of the presentation.

With that I would like to introduce today's DOE webinar host, Eric Miller, who is joining us at DOE headquarters. Hi, Eric.

Eric Miller, Fuel Cell Technologies Office

Hi. Thanks, Eric. It's my pleasure today to introduce Dr. Huyen Dinh, who is a senior scientist and project leader at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Applied Chemistry and her Doctorate in Electrochemistry at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Huyen has about 20 years of experience in direct methanol hydrogen PEM as well as zinc air fuel cells at national laboratories and industry. Prior to joining NREL, she worked at three different fuel cell startup companies and at NREL she is now part of the leadership team responsible for building a hydrogen and fuel cell R&D program. Currently, Huyen is NREL's hydrogen production and delivery lead and is also responsible for managing the HydroGEN EMN consortium. And with that I'll hand it over to you, Huyen.

Huyen Dinh, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Good morning, everyone. Thank you for the kind introduction, Eric. I'd like to start by talking about FCTO's early-stage areas, that is fuel cells and hydrogen. FCTO's cost targets for hydrogen production, delivery, and storage are shown here. The HydroGEN consortium's role is to support FCTO's production goals of $2.00 per kilogram of hydrogen via collaborative early stage research on emerging water splitting technologies.

I want to start by giving you the contact information and resources to engage with the HydroGEN EMN. The notice of intent has been released and when a FOA is issued we ask that first engagements go through the e-mail h2awsm@nrel.gov and then we'll direct inquiry to the appropriate people to respond. Engagement is different for this round of HydroGEN call; the lab node experts can have discussions with potential project PIs during the time when the FOA is open. Please also check out our website; it also has lots of information on there, including the capability nodes, descriptions, the technology transfer agreements, and the currently funded projects.

In my presentation I will briefly give an overview of what is an energy materials network, or EMN for short. Then I will talk physically about the HydroGEN EMN, what research is being done within a consortium. EMN is a consortium of national labs. It is designed to leverage the world-class capabilities at the DOE national labs and make them accessible to the scientific community for collaborative R&D. EMNs offer a flexible R&D consortium model that addresses key material challenges in high-impact clean energy technologies. I will talk about how you can find the right resources and engage with the national labs quickly and effectively to accelerate your research.

Okay. Every EMN has the same four pillar requirements. First, it must have a world-class materials capability network that comprises unique and accessible sets of capabilities from the DOE national laboratory system. Secondly, it has to have a clear point of engagement, such as a single point of contact, a concierge, to facilitate sufficient access. Thirdly, it must have a data hub to capture industry data to the scientific community and the public. And fourthly, the EMN needs to have a streamlined access to the EMN capabilities and experts to accelerate materials development.

To ensure transparency each EMN has a steering committee that comprise a technical lead from each of the core labs, and a DOE leadership team. This makes up the steering committee. There's also a data and a technologies transfer team that also comprises experts from each of the core labs.

So what is HydroGEN? HydroGEN consortium is a DOE SETO EMN that was launched in late 2016 and comprises six core national labs: NREL, Berkeley, Sandia, Idaho, Lawrence Livermore, and Savannah River. HydroGEN focuses on early stage research in advanced electrochemical that includes both low and high-temperature electrolysis, solar thermal chemical, and photoelectrochemical water splitting for sustainable hydrogen production. We believe that cross-cutting technologies and collaboration are critical to reducing renewable hydrogen production costs.

The H2 AWSM steering committee comprise a technical lead from each of the six national labs and the DOE SETO leadership team. Each of the technical leads brings significant expertise and unique capabilities across advanced water-splitting technologies.

HydroGEN is AWSM; it has over 80 distinct world-class capabilities and materials theory, synthesis, and characterization. HydroGEN EMN aims to foster cross-cutting innovation using theory-guided applied materials R&D to advance all emerging water-splitting pathways for hydrogen production.

As I mentioned earlier, our HydroGEN website has lots of information that would be useful for you, one of which is a user-friendly capability node search engine, shown here. And I will now demonstrate it live on our website. So this is the home page of our website, and if you go to Capabilities, clicking this tab here, you will see that there are different parts of capabilities [audio cuts out]. You can search for the capability you want or to look at or to read more carefully by clicking any one or multiple of these different things, either the type of the class, technology, the water-splitting technologies, and the national labs that you're interested in. For example, if you're interested in a capability from NREL and let's say you're working on low-temperature electrolysis and you click on that, and the ones, twos, and threes here are node-readiness categories. If you click here you could find the definitions of each one of these.

Category one means that it's being fully developed for that particular technology. Category two is that requires a little bit more development for the capability and is not being applied to that particular technology. And category three could be a very cool capability that would get great information from, unfortunately it would take significant development to get the capability to a point where it could collect useful information for that particular water-splitting technology. And that's the—maybe you're interested in a characterization or material synthesis. Then you click Apply and there you go, from over 80 capabilities it's narrowed down—the search is narrowed down to two capabilities here according to your search criteria.

Now if you click on the card you would get the whole description of the capability, who the capability experts are, where it's from, and you scroll through here. It also provides you what the capability bounds are of that capability, the UD aspects, and whether it's available and what the limitations of the availability are, the benefits, as well as the images of the capability and the publications that has come out of this particular capability. Okay?

I'll go back to our presentation now.

So there are 21 FOA-awarded projects in HydroGEN, leveraging over 44 unique capabilities across the six core labs. We have an advanced R&D portfolio across emerging advanced water-splitting technologies and one benchmarking and protocol development project. This is a picture of the [inaudible] attendees at NREL in the fall of 2017.

HydroGEN is truly a national innovation ecosystem, as illustrated by this map. There are 11 labs, 7 companies, 30 universities, and 2 federal agencies. SETO, NNSF, DMRF here, participating in HydroGEN. We are vastly collaborative and focused on early stage R&D.

SETO has a well-balanced AWSM R&D portfolio that is looking for new gains to accelerate adoption and long-term investments for energy security. We're working on various materials from PTM and PTM-free catalyst to polymers and ionomers, to metal oxides, to light absorbers and semiconductors and to perovskites. We are focusing on issues such as mature discovery via machine learning, performance, durability, cost, and materials integration.

There are five low-temperature projects within HydroGEN; they are shown here, utilizing 13 nodes from the four core labs. Through the capability nodes that the project PI selected to work with, the lab capability experts support the projects by providing equipment, personnel, expertise, capability, materials, and data. It is collaborative research that results in material discoveries and joins [inaudible] case. Under low-temperature electrolysis we work on both proton and alkaline exchange membrane electrolysis.

With high-temperature electrolysis, we're conducting research on oxygen and proton-conducting solid oxide electrolysis. These five high-temperature HTE projects leverage six nodes from these four core labs to carry out their early stage high-temperature electrolysis R&D.

In photoelectrochemical water splitting, or PEC for short, these five PEC research projects are utilizing 17 nodes from the four HydroGEN core labs. Currently all projects focus on thin-cell materials to absorb the sun's energy and split water.

There are four solar thermochemical and one hybrid thermochemical project within HydroGEN that leverages 11 nodes from the five national labs. STCH projects are focused on material discovery using theories to determine which material may be able to split water and then try to synthesize that material and characterize them.

Now I will highlight the technical progress for each project, each of these advanced water-splitting technologies. To give you flavor of the R&D the first one is NEL, our PROTON site here, under low-temperature electrolysis. With NREL's contribution PROTON was able to achieve high performance of 1.8 volts at 2 amps per centimeter squared and 800 hours of PEM electrolysis durability. This is a step towards achieving PEM water electrolysis cell efficiency goal of 43 kilowatt-hours per kilogram. This is significant improvement over the state-of-the-art cell efficiency of 53 kilowatt-hours per kilogram.

In the photoelectrochemical water splitting space here I highlight the Rutgers project. NREL's high performance photoabsorber was integrated with Rutgers' PGM-free electrocatalyst and was able to achieve a solar-to-hydrogen efficiency of 11.5-percent for unassisted water splitting. This performance is on par with conventional PGM catalysts that we used (PtRu).

In the high-temperature electrolysis, I'd like to highlight the Northwestern University project that used YSZ electrolyte and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs metal-supported solid oxide cell. And in collaboration with Idaho high-temperature testing nodes, they demonstrated a metal-supported solid oxide electrolysis cell for the first time in electrolysis mode with the highest performance for oxygen-conducting-type electrolysis cells to date. And it has also showed promising stability.

Under the STCH project, the University of Colorado Boulder with NREL's DFT node, they were able to identify several hundred STCH perovskites from over a million possible candidates with 92 percent accuracy. Then Sandia's stagnation flow reactor and high-temperature XRD nodes were used to experimentally validate these materials by measuring the kinetics and crystal structures of a select number of materials and thus provide critical feedback to develop rapid kinetic screening techniques for these materials.

Now I'd like to highlight five new collaborative supernodes that were recently developed to accelerate the AWSM R&D. The objective of the supernode is to demonstrate the enhanced potential of the individual nodes through integration of multiple nodes. In this case with the low-temperature hybrid supernode, we're leveraged multiple nodes at NREL, Berkeley, and Savannah River to probe the connection between materials, electrocomposition, and processing, device performance for low-temperature electrolysis. Our goal is to better integrate these ex-situ and in-situ performances because most materials, as you know, are screened through our ex-situ techniques and the results of the ex-situ screening may not relate or is relevant for in-situ performance, and hence we need to better understand what ex-situ testing are relevant to predict in-situ performance, as well as developed better material components to achieve optimized performance and durability.

The second node I'd like to talk about is the oxygen evolution reaction supernode, or OER for short. This node cross-cuts over two different technologies: low-temperature and PEC. It aims at addressing the knowledge gaps about OER by demonstrating a multiscale, multitheory methodology across different PH ranges. The supernodes involve Berkeley, Livermore, and NREL, and using six nodes. As you can see here, it's mainly focused on theory, looking across different scale lengths, from looking at the surface to the interface and beyond.

The third supernode is the PEC supernode, and it's focused on understanding the integration issues when you scale up a PEC device larger than one-centimeter-squared. And when you scale up, different degradation mechanisms may emerge for these PEC devices, and so we wanted to understand what those are and address them, as well as be able to demonstrate and integrate in durable 50-centimeter-squared PEC panel. The supernodes involve two labs, NREL and Berkeley, and seven different nodes.

The high-temperature supernode focuses on a deeper understanding of THE electrode microstructure evolution as a function of local solid-oxide composition and operating conditions. to develop more active, longer-life electrodes. This is one of the biggest issues for high-temperature electrolysis, because since they operate at such a high temperature, materials that can withstand those temperatures are difficult to find and then they also evolve –  they also break down at these high temperatures. And so they're looking at what are the different cell fabrication techniques and parameters, and how the structures and the properties affect the performance.

The fifth supernode is related to the STCH, or solar thermochemical water-splitting. Here, because it's mainly in the theory range—sorry, it's still in the discovery, material discovery stage, because they only have—so far only Ceria is material that can actually split water, and this is where the target would be. They need to better understand what makes a material have the potential to split water, and so they are looking at model compounds that it can make through the structures of the BCM material here and its polytypes to better understand what the effects, what the structures look like in order to split water. And so this particular supernode involves three labs: Sandia, NREL, and Livermore, and seven different nodes.

In addition to the 21 FOA-awarded projects and for the five supernodes that's recently been added, we also have four new projects that's leveraging interagency funding and collaboration, and that's these four projects here: the NSF DMREF collaborating with the HydroGEN EMN nodes.

So now I'd like to touch on the two remaining pillars of the EMN, and that is the data and the technology transfer agreement pillars. We have a HydroGEN data hub that our goal is to make the digital data accessible. This is our website and I encourage you to go there and I'll show you a little live demo. The data hub was implemented in May 2017. It is designed to be a secure project space for team members to view, to upload, to download project data. We are developing metadata tools to support advanced search of the different materials and data. We're also developing data plug-ins so that you can visualize/analyze your data. Today's HydroGEN data hub has over 170 users and over 4,000 files uploaded so far.

I'm now going to go and give you a little bit of a live demo of our data hub. This is what the data hub looks like when you click on into it as a public person. You can register for an account, discover what kind of data is in our data hub, and also submit data. Right now, however, only the participants in the HydroGEN EMN can submit data. So if you click on Discover here you can see what data is now public. The majority of the data are still private within each of the projects, but here we have our first set of data that is public. It is the low-temperature questionnaire summary that was issued by the benchmarking team back in the summer and fall 2018. You can see here that here's a list of—here's the questions that they made through Google Form and then this is a summary of the responses from that Google Form. So you can click on that and view it as well as download that particular set of data.

Now I'm going to go back to our presentation. Okay.

So streamlined access is a force and a very important pillar of the EMN. In this particular team you see that there are representatives, experts from each of the national labs, and together they work on developing different preapproved technology transfer agreements. Here I show a non-disclosure agreement, NDA, the intellectual property management plan, materials transfer agreement, and CRADA. And this is so that you allow people to have streamlined access to the capabilities and the experts within them. So today they've developed four preapproved agreements as well as executed all 21 NDAs and two MTAs. So these agreements have been pre-negotiated so that the labs can expedite the execution of these NDAs.

I'd like to end the presentation by talking—giving you a list of different useful HydroGEN related links here. These links here are to the webinars that we gave in 2015; you can find it. There's a lot of good capability descriptions in these webinars. You can also read about the different projects, FOA-awarded projects, like on our website, as well as looking at our AMR presentations on the DOE AMR website. You can look—these are direct links to the TTA site and the data hub as well as some video testimonials, which I will show soon.

Did I miss that? I did miss that. Okay, so how has HydroGEN been going? Here is a video from Professor Tom Jaramillo. He's a PI from one of the HydroGEN PEC seeding projects and he talks about how the capabilities and expertise of HydroGEN helped his researchers help his research.

Eric Parker

Here it is.

[Video plays from 0:27:53 to 0:28:59]

Huyen Dinh

There it is. That's one testimonial. We have a few more that will be posted on the website if you're interested in seeing them more. So I'd like to end by acknowledging the funding from DOE EERE Fuel Cell Technologies Office for—and I'd also like to thank DOE's HydroGEN leadership team, shown here: Eric Miller, Katie Randolph, David Peterson, and James Vickers for their leadership, guidance, and support.

Again, I want to remind you that when the FOA is open, all first engagements with the HydroGEN EMN should go through this e-mail here, h2awsm@nrel.gov. And please check our website for all the information you need about HydroGEN.

And these last few slides are all acknowledgements for the research teams that are involved in HydroGEN, as well as the lab experts. And, Eric, back to you.

Eric Parker

Okay. Thanks, Huyen, for the insightful and informative presentation. Just a reminder to everyone, the 2019 Annual Merit Review is coming up in April this year, April 29th to May 1st in Crystal City, Virginia. Please check out our website to learn more and register. If you can advance to the next slide. Oh, one more, please.

That does wrap up the presentation today. So a big thank you to everyone. If you do have a question you think of later, please feel free to e-mail us directly with the e-mail addresses listed on the screen now. And I encourage everyone to sign up for our newsletter, where you'll receive more information and registration information for upcoming webinars. And with that I'd like to wish everyone a great rest of your week and goodbye.

[End of audio]