(Invited Plenary) U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Activities: Progress and Opportunities

Monday, 2 October 2017: 08:20
National Harbor 2/3 (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
S. Satyapal, E. L. Miller, D. Papageorgeorgopoulos, and N. T. Stetson (U.S. Department of Energy)
The fuel cell industry is poised for significant expansion—with more than 830 patents issued in 2015, second in the clean energy sector only to solar. Global shipments were at 60,000 units worldwide in 2015 with an annual growth of roughly 30 percent every year since 2010, and annual revenues have exceeded $2 million. After decades of research and development (R&D), fuel cell electric vehicles using hydrogen are now commercially available. They achieve significantly higher efficiencies than combustion engines, offering zero-petroleum and zero-emissions driving options with performance meeting consumer expectations – over 360 mile driving range, a few minutes to refuel, and the high torque and quiet characteristics of all-electric platforms. Such characteristics also enable a number of other applications, such as stationary or backup power, auxiliary power, underwater and aircraft systems, trucks, rail, soldier portable power, and remote surveillance systems.

This plenary presentation will provide an overview of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) hydrogen and fuel cell activities with a focus on transportation and early market applications, highlighting key progress as well as opportunities. Recent efforts include DOE’s national lab-led consortia, offering state-of-the-art multi-lab core capabilities and leveraging university and industry partners to accelerate materials breakthroughs and innovations in three key areas: ElectroCat, for platinum group metal-free catalysts, HydroGen for advanced water-splitting, and HyMARC for hydrogen storage materials research. A summary of the H2@Scale concept will be provided which lays a framework for the potential wide-scale production and utilization of hydrogen to address key issues such as grid resiliency, energy security, and cross-sectoral emissions reductions. In addition to an overview of current status in commercial developments, the focus will be on key challenges requiring transformational early stage applied research and development. Examples include catalysts, membranes, electrode structures, as well as electrolysis and other advanced water-splitting approaches. Low cost and reliable hydrogen delivery technologies including high efficiency liquefaction, advanced compression such as electrochemical compression, and advanced dispensing technologies will also require R&D relevant to the electrochemistry, chemistry, and engineering research community.