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US Department of Energy announces funding for several hydrogen projects

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US Department of Energy announces funding for several hydrogen projects

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Cummins, Plug Power, 3M among the companies granted research awards

A total of $64 million announced for hydrogen research and development

Houston — Cummins, Plug Power, Caterpillar, Nikola, 3M and Hornblower Yachts are among the companies who will receive funding from the US Department of Energy for various hydrogen research projects, the department announced July 20.

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Roughly $64 million will be passed out for 18 different projects that support the department's H2@Scale initiative, which targets research and development for affordable hydrogen production, storage, distribution and use.

"Hydrogen has the potential to integrate our nation's domestic energy resources, add value in industrial and energy-intensive sectors, and broaden technology choices for medium- and heavy-duty transportation," US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said in the department's announcement. "These projects will bring us closer to realizing hydrogen's full potential for a resilient, flexible, and affordable energy system for all Americans."

The awards and projects include:

  • $4.8 million to 3M to develop advanced manufacturing processes for gigawatt-scale proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers;
  • $3 million to Cummins for PEM fuel cell systems for heavy-duty applications;
  • $3 million to Plug Power for domestically manufactured fuel cells for heavy-duty applications;
  • $4 million to the University of California, Irvine, for solid oxide electrolysis cells integrated with direct reduced iron plants for the production of green steel;
  • $8 million to Hornblower Yachts for a marine hydrogen demonstration;
  • $6 million to Caterpillar for a system demonstration for supplying clean, reliable and affordable electric power to data centers using hydrogen fuel;
  • $1 million to Nikola for advanced membranes for heavy duty fuel cell trucks;
  • $4 million to the Missouri University of Science and Technology for grid-interactive steelmaking with hydrogen.

Hydrogen as a fuel can be combusted and used in high heat applications such as steelmaking and power generation, but can also be used in fuel cell applications, most notably in transportation. The world produces roughly 70 million mt of hydrogen annually, but the overwhelming majority of that production is currently used for oil refining, ammonium production or other chemical applications.

Production is expected to dramatically increase as nations strive to lower carbon dioxide emissions, many in line with the Paris climate accords.