October 6, 2017
This week the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) joins others across the United States to celebrate the third National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day on Oct. 8—10.08—a date chosen to represent the atomic weight of hydrogen (1.008). The U.S. Senate officially designated October 8, 2017, as National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day with the passage of Senate Resolution 287.
Here's a recap of a few of our hydrogen and fuel cell research impacts from the last year.
Installed a Power-to-Gas Bioreactor Pilot Plant at the ESIF
Researchers at the ESIF installed a 25-foot tall bioreactor system just north of the facility, where large hydrogen compressors and hydrogen storage vessels already exist. As part of NREL's collaboration with Southern California Gas Company to create and demonstrate a carbon-free, power-to-gas system, the bioreactor will be used to produce renewable natural gas from excess renewable electricity and a microorganism that converts hydrogen and carbon dioxide to methane. The power-to-gas technology, which will be demonstrated for the first time ever in the United States, could provide North America with a large-scale, cost-effective solution for storing excess energy produced from renewable sources in the existing natural gas network. Learn more about the project on the Southern California Gas partner page.
Established World Record for Solar Hydrogen Production
Scientists at NREL recaptured the record for highest efficiency in solar hydrogen production via a photoelectrochemical (PEC) water-splitting process. The new solar-to-hydrogen efficiency record is 16.2 percent, topping a reported 14 percent efficiency in 2015 by an international team made up of researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, TU Ilmenau, Fraunhofer ISE, and the California Institute of Technology. The NREL team published the results of its record-setting research in the journal Nature Energy. Also see a recent feature article about NREL's PEC research achievements.
Held First-Ever Rocky Mountain Regional Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Supplier Exchange Event
With local partners the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, the Colorado Advanced Manufacturing Association, and the Colorado Hydrogen Coalition, NREL planned and held a first-ever hydrogen and fuel cell supply chain exchange event in the Rocky Mountain region on Aug. 17 in Parker. This forum was tailored to the Rocky Mountain region of manufacturers and suppliers for the clean energy technology industry and had more than 80 attendees. NREL is leading the Rocky Mountain Technical Exchange Center, one of four regional technical exchange centers to expand the domestic supply chain of fuel cell and hydrogen components and systems and improve U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.
Provided Hydrogen for Field Testing of U.S. Army's Chevy Colorado ZH2
This summer NREL's hydrogen fueling station provided hydrogen to the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to support field testing of the hydrogen-powered Chevy Colorado ZH2, an off-road-capable fuel cell electric vehicle developed in collaboration between General Motors (GM) and TARDEC. TARDEC spent a week in late June testing the ZH2 in extreme field conditions at the Fort Carson Army base near Colorado Springs to help determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles on military missions. TARDEC fueled the ZH2 and a mobile fueling unit at NREL's Hydrogen Infrastructure Testing and Research Facility during the Fort Carson testing.
Validated $1-Million H-Prize Submission for DOE
In January the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Hydrogen Education Foundation announced SimpleFuel as the winner of the $1 million H2 Refuel H-Prize Competition to develop a home hydrogen fueling system. NREL acted as the independent validator for the competition by collecting and analyzing three months of system performance data and presenting the results to the independent H-Prize judges' panel.
Launched a New Consortium to Develop Advanced Water Splitting Materials for Hydrogen Production
NREL and DOE's Fuel Cell Technologies Office formed a consortium with five other national labs intended to accelerate the research, development, and deployment of advanced water splitting technologies for clean, sustainable hydrogen production. The consortium, named HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials (HydroGEN), is part of DOE's Energy Materials Network and has as its members Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Savannah River National Laboratory. To learn more, see our news release announcing HydroGEN.
Learn more about NREL's hydrogen and fuel cell research.