The US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced the availability of more funding for the research and development of efficient hydrogen fuel storage technologies.
The federal agency cites the Obama Administration’s “all of the above” energy policy as the reason behind the availability of this funding. This policy calls for the country to pursue various forms of renewable energy, but also calls for a continued focus on fossil fuels. Through the policy, hydrogen fuel has managed to acquire a significant level of support, especially from the DoE, which had once considered hydrogen fuel to be inadequate.
The federal agency has set aside $4m in funding for the 2014 fiscal year. This funding will be made available to projects focused on bringing innovative solutions to the problem of efficient hydrogen fuel storage. Storage has become a major issue when it comes to the matter of using hydrogen as a form of energy. Conventional storage methods are energy intensive, and much of the electricity used for these storage processes consume a significant amount of fossil fuels. Beyond fuel consumption, conventional storage methods are not especially efficient, leading to a loss of energy potential.
Cutting costs of hydrogen fuel storage is a priority
Projects that focus on reducing the costs associated with hydrogen fuel storage will gain access to funding from the DoE. These projects will also make use of low-cost materials that can further mitigate storage costs. The demand for portable storage solutions is increasing at a rapid rate, largely due to the auto industry’s focus on hydrogen fuel cells. Projects that seek to develop efficient solutions for portable storage will also receive backing from the DoE.
Hydrogen may eventually become the fuel of choice for the US
Storage remains as one of the last hurdles separating hydrogen fuel frommainstream use. Other challenges exist in infrastructure and the notoriously high costs of fuel cell technology. If these challenges can be overcome, hydrogen fuel may quickly replace fossil fuels in the US, removing the need for coal and oil and eliminating the costs that are represented by these two forms of fuel.