WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced up to $19 million in funding for research that will develop cutting-edge technology solutions to make clean hydrogen a more available and affordable fuel for electricity generation, industrial decarbonization, and transportation. The funding opportunity will focus on using hydrogen systems to convert various waste materials—such as biomass, plastics, common household garbage, and other wastes—into clean energy, supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of achieving a zero-carbon American power sector by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

“When coupled with technologies that capture and store carbon dioxide emissions, using waste materials is expected to be a low-cost path for producing clean hydrogen to help achieve our climate goals,” said Brad Crabtree, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “This effort can also help reduce the volume of waste sent to landfills while creating local economic opportunities by locating new waste-to-energy hydrogen plants in communities.”

Hydrogen is a clean fuel that can be used in a fuel cell or a gas turbine to create electricity with only water and heat as byproducts. Clean hydrogen can be produced from zero-emissions electricity generated by wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear, as well as from conversion of leak-tight natural gas and sustainably sourced biomass or other waste materials combined with carbon capture and storage. However, currently more than 95% of the roughly 10 million metric tons of hydrogen produced in the United States comes from natural gas without the capture and geologic storage of carbon dioxide, which results in significant emissions. This is why advancing clean hydrogen production is important to help address climate change.

The funding opportunity solicits applications in three areas of interest:

  • Advancing toward commercialization viable gasification energy systems that convert varied waste feedstock materials such as coal waste, biomass, waste plastics, municipal solid waste, and industrial waste into clean energy;
     
  • Improving the performance of gasification-based systems that use waste feedstock materials through wireless sensing technology; and
     
  • Developing technology components that advance monitoring, detection, and security for integrated hydrogen-based systems with carbon capture.

Applicants to this FOA must address the societal considerations and impacts of their proposed projects, emphasizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility throughout the research and development process. Applications must explain how projects are expected to deliver equitable access to, and distribution of, benefits produced from successful technology innovations; incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and understand the future workforce implications of the innovation. Projects selected under this opportunity will be required to develop and implement strategies to advance these priorities, and report on such activities and outcomes.

Read the full funding opportunity announcement. All questions must be submitted through FedConnect; register here for an account. Visit our website to find resources on how to include equity and conduct community engagement in project plans.

FECM minimizes environmental and climate impacts of fossil fuels and industrial processes while working to achieve net-zero emissions across our economy. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.

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