The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a multi-million-dollar cash injection to advance America’s hydrogen (H2) economy.

The organisation will dedicate $15.8m in funding to develop and advance novel and low-cost materials needed for H2 production and storage and for fuel cells onboard light-duty vehicles.

In total, the 30 selected projects will leverage national lab consortia launched under DOE’s Energy Materials Network (EMN) this past year in support of DOE’s materials research and advanced manufacturing priorities. The projects fall into four key areas.

The majority of projects will focus on the acceleration of the development of advanced water-splitting materials for H2 production. Others will explore possible cost reductions of H2 storage tanks for fuel cell vehicles, viable solid-state materials for onboard H2 storage and catalyst developments.

A statement from the DOE highlighted, “The selected EMN consortia projects will leverage unique, world-class capabilities at the national laboratories, facilitating collaborations that will expedite the development of advanced materials.” 

Consistent growth

More than 2,000 fuel cell vehicles have been sold or leased in the US since 2015.

According to the DOE’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) ‘State of the States: Fuel Cells in America 2016’ report, the top three H2 and fuel cell states in the country are California, Connecticut and New York.

California is home to the greatest number of stationary fuel cells, while Connecticut and Delaware are home to the largest installations. The report also shows that California’s advanced energy economy is growing six times faster than the overall economy.

The fuel cell industry has seen a consistent growth rate of 30% per year since 2010. According to the report, the Northeast H2 and fuel cell supply chain contributed nearly $1.4bn in revenue and investment.