Fuel Cell and Hydrogen

Energy Connection
March 2012
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News
Federal Program News
RFP/Solicitation News
About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Industry News


21 Representatives and 9 Senators Sign Letters Supporting Funding for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Programs


In a robust show of support, last week 21 Representatives and 9 Senators signed programmatic funding request letters to their respective Appropriations Subcommittee Chair and Ranking Member on Energy and Water.


Representatives John B. Larson (D-CT) and Michael F. Doyle (D-PA) sponsored a letter to Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Pete Visclosky (D-IN) of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.  The other signatories of the letter sent on March 19, 2012 were:


Representative Christopher S. Murphy (D-CT)

Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)

Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY)

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Representative Tim Ryan  (D-OH)

Representative Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-NY)

Representative Betty Sutton (D-OH)

Representative Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)

Representative Dale E. Kildee (D-MI)

Representative Mike Thompson (D-CA)

Representative James P. Moran (D-VA)

Representative Joe Courtney (D-CT)

Representative James B. Renacci (R-OH)

Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL)

Representative Barney Frank (D-MA)

Representative Niki Tsongas (D-MA)

Representative Steve Israel (D-NY)

Representative Lee Terry (R-NE)


In addition, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sponsored a letter to Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN) of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and water Development.  The other signatories of the letter sent on March 21, 2012 were:


Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (I-CT)

Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)

Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY)

Senator Christopher A. Coons (D-DE)


Please call and write thank you letters to these Members for their support of fuel cell and hydrogen energy industry.


The March 19 House letter is available here.  The March 21 Senate letter is available online here.  


President Obama Announces Alternative Technology Vehicle Support as Part of All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy 


President Obama outlined new plans on Wednesday, March 8, 2012 as part of a $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to support the sales and use of alternative technology vehicles (ATVs).  The plan supports electric, natural gas, and hydrogen-powered vehicles and is defined as an all-of-the-above energy strategy.   


Speaking at a Daimler truck factory, President Obama proposed a broad set of intiatives for alternative-fuel vehicles.


Part of the President's plan includes increasing the current $7,500 tax credit for ATVs to a maximum of $10,000. The credit would also be broadened to apply to different types of ATVs, moving beyond just plug-in cars to apply to electric battery, natural gas, and hydrogen vehicles.   


"This is good news for any manufacturer who's taking  a portfolio approach [to ATVs]" said John Hanson, U.S. spokesman for Toyota.


Funds from the National Community Deployment Challenge will also be used to help 10 to 15 "model communities" create incentives and infrastructure to support advanced technology vehicles, according to the White House proposal.


Communities will be able to use the funds in support of plug-in electric, natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell or any other advanced vehicle technology. The communities would then become "real-world laboratories," the White House said, providing models for full-scale deployment of these advanced technologies.

Read the White House fact sheet on the All-of-the-Above Approach to American Energy 

Read the CNN Money article here.


Danish Government to Launch Hydrogen Infrastructure Program and Continue FCEV Tax Exemptions through 2015


On March 23, 2012, the Danish Government announced a new Energy Plan 2020 which included several initiatives supporting the development of hydrogen infrastructure and the deployment of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).  The overall goal of the Energy Plan 2020 is to bring the Danish Government to complete fossil fuel independence by 2050.


The Infrastructure Program within the Energy Plan 2020 would develop a country-wide hydrogen refueling network by 2015.  This would also include a significant tax exemption on electricity for hydrogen production to encourage renewable hydrogen.




Furthermore, the Energy Plan 2020 includes the continuation of existing  tax exemptions for FCEVs through 2015.  The current tax on gasoline vehicles in Denmark includes a 180% tax and 25% value added tax (VAT) applied to the base vehicle price.  By exempting FCEVs from the 180% vehicle tax, FCEVs would be competitively priced compared to traditional gasoline vehicles when they are released to the commercial market.


For more information on the Danish Government's Energy Plan 2020, please visit the press release here.


Canada Mobilizes National Research Effort to Reduce the Price of Fuel Cells


On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, a collaboration between six Canadian companies and 20 top fuel cell scientists and engineers from academia and government was announced.  The collaboration is working to develop a way to significantly reduce the platinum used in the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells for automotive applications.  The six companies involved are the Automotive Fuel Cell Corporation (AFCC), Ballard Power Systems, Hyteon Inc., BIC Inc., GM Canada, and Hydrogenics.


This CAD 8.1 million project is primarily being funded by the Automotive Partnership Canada (APC), which contributed CAD 5 million. APC is a partnership between five federal agencies that supports research at Canadian universities and government laboratories.  The agencies included are the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); National Research Council (NRC); Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI); Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC). 


The research teams are also working towards improving the durability and efficiency of the platinum catalyst layer, which would translate into longer-lasting fuel cell stacks.


The APC press release can be found online here.


Toyota Announces Intent to Make 'Tens of Thousands' of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles Annually by 2020  


On Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show, Didier Leroy, head of Toyota's European operations, commented that the company is "preparing to be able to produce tens of thousands [of fuel cell electric vehicles] per year in the 2020s."


Toyota Motor Corporation displayed its hydrogen-powered FCV-R concept car, further establishing its intentions to sell non-polluting sedans by 2015.

Toyota FCV-R Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept Car

Read full story here.

Joint Base Lewis-McChord Operating Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles on Renewable On-Site Hydrogen


On Thursday, March 1, 2012 Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington State announced that the base is currently operating nineteen fuel cell forklifts and one fuel cell shuttle bus. Both the forklifts and bus are fueled from hydrogen generated on-site from waste gas from JBLM's waste water treatment plant.  The gas was previously flared.


Proterra Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Bus

Though the forklifts and bus had been in operation since November 2011, for the first time the vehicles are being fueled from sustainable on-site hydrogen.


The companies who made the project happen are:

  • Plug Power, who provided the nineteen fuel cell forklift trucks
  • Air Products, who supplied the hydrogen transportation, compression, storage, and dispensing infrastructure
  • Proterra, who provided the hydrogen fuel cell bus
  • The Gas Technology Institute, who developed the waste gas clean-up and hydrogen generation infrastructure 

JBLM will be hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony this Spring to commemorate the effort.


For the full story of the project, you can read Fuel Cell Today's coverage online here.


Senator Tester Questions Secretary Chu on Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles


Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Steven Chu appeared as a witness at the Senate Committee on Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 to discuss the FY 2013 DOE budget.  


The Secretary was asked by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) if the U.S. was ceding the lead in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to other countries.  The Secretary replied that the DOE still wanted to continue to support fuel cells for transportation and move forward with their commitment to PEM fuel cells for transportation.  


Earlier in the hearing Chairman Feinstein (D-CA) said in her opening remarks, the committee would like to know why the Office of Fossil Energy was one of the few programs receiving cuts, and that the largest cut within Fossil Energy was the zeroing out of the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA) program, which funds solid oxide fuel cell research and development.


The Secretary expressed that the Department believes solid oxide fuel cells are in a more mature place than PEM transportation fuel cells, with higher industry investment, and require less government support at this point.  


A transcript of the exchange is available here.


Mercedes-Benz Makes an Invisible Fuel Cell Vehicle (VIDEO)


On Sunday, March 4, 2012, to make a statement about its upcoming fuel cell electric vehicles' zero carbon footprint, Mercedes-Benz cloaked one of its F-Cell vans to demonstrate its invisibility to the environment.


Invisible Mercedes
Invisible Mercedes


Read more about the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell here


Federal Program News 


Department of Energy Awards Over $5 Million to Reduce Cost of Advanced Fuel Cells


On Tuesday, March 27th, the Energy Department announced a more than $5 million dollar investment in lowering the cost of advanced fuel cell systems.  The funding will contribute to developing and engineering cost-effective, durable and highly efficient fuel cell components that will help to meet cost targets and boost performance for both vehicles and stationary applications.


Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu spoke in support of the announcement saying "advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technology is an important part of the Energy Department's efforts to support the President's all-of-the-above energy strategy, helping to diversify America's energy sector and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.  These investments will help fuel technology breakthroughs, drive down costs, and bring innovative, job-creating clean energy technologies to market faster."


Two companies will lead these efforts, with 3M Company in St. Paul, MN, receiving up to $3.1 million, and Eaton Corporation in Southfield, MI, receiving up to $2.1 million.  The focus of 3M will be developing a durable, low-cost, and high-performance membrane electrode assembly for use in mass-produced fuel cell electric vehicles and involve collaboration with General Motors, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Michigan Technological University.  Eaton Corporation, partnered with Kettering University, Ballard Power Systems and Electricore, Inc., will leverage advanced blower technology to develop and demonstrate an efficient and low-cost fuel cell air management system. 


More information on the DOE announcement is available online here.
Department of Energy Annual Merit Review Coming Soon
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Annual Merit Review & Peer Evaluation Meeting (AMR) will be held in Washington, D.C. from May 14 through May 18.  The AMR presents hydrogen, fuel cell, and advanced technology projects that are reviewed for their merit and funded by the Department of Energy's the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and the Vehicle Technologies Program.

For more information on the Department of Energy AMR, please visit their website at www.annualmeritreview.energy.gov/.
Fuel Cell Technologies Program Fellowship Opportunities Available


The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is seeking applicants for a Fellowship Program in multiple areas within EERE, including the Fuel Cell Technologies Program. The Fellowships offer recent Ph.D. recipients the opportunity to conduct applied research at universities, national laboratories, and other research facilities. Research fellowships will be awarded to qualified applicants to work on collaborative applied research topics of mutual interest to the applicant, the host facility, and the sponsoring EERE Program. 


The EERE Fellowship Program aims to create the next generation of scientific leaders in energy efficiency and renewable energy by attracting creative scientists and engineers to pursue breakthrough technologies in a highly prestigious postdoctoral research program.


One position is available in the Fuel Cell Technologies Program in the area of Systems Analysis. Application forms are now available and are due May 1, 2012. Applicants must have U.S. citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status by September 30, 2012.


More information is available online here. 


RFP / Solicitation News


DOE Announces $10 Million to Promote Zero Emission Cargo Transport Vehicles - Includes Fuel Cells


The Department of Energy has announed up to $10 million available this year to demonstrate and deploy electric transportation technologies for cargo vehicles, such as trucks and forklifts, including those that are propelled by electric motors powered by fuel cells.


This funding opportunity is open to local governments and private companies, with federal funds matched in a 50% cost share. Detailed application instructions, including eligibility, can be found on DOE's Funding Opportunity Exchange website under Reference Number DE-FOA-0000669. 


Applications will be accepted until 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 15, 2012. DOE anticipates notifying applicants selected for award by the end of July 2012, and making at least one award by September 30, 2012. 


DOE Announces Up to $2 Million to Collect Data from Hydrogen Fueling Stations and Demonstrate Innovations in Hydrogen Infrastructure Technologies


The Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies (FCT) Program has announced up to $2 million available this year to collect and analyze performance data for hydrogen fueling stations and advanced refueling components. By collecting data from advanced hydrogen fueling stations, the Energy Department will track the performance and technical progress of innovative refueling systems operating in real-world environments to find ways to lower costs and improve operation. 


This funding is part of the department's commitment to U.S. leadership in advanced hydrogen and fuel cell research that aims to help industry bring hydrogen technologies into the mainstream market at lower cost, and provide American families and businesses with new choices for vehicles that do not rely on gasoline.

The full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is posted on the

Submission deadline for applicants is 5:00 PM EST on May 10, 2012.

DOE Grant Opportunity - Light-Duty Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Validation Data


The Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies (FCT) Program has issued a grant opportunity for light-duty fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) validation data.  The FCT Program has issued the announcement to fund the collection, analysis, and validation of light-duty hydrogen FCEV performance data operating in real-world environments. 


Feedback will be provided to the DOE hydrogen and fuel cell R&D projects and industry partners to help determine what additional R&D is required to move the technology forward. The total DOE funding available for new awards is estimated to be $6,000,000. 


The full Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is posted on the EERE Exchange website


Submission deadline for applicants is 5:00 PM EST on April 30, 2012.


Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking Launched its 5th Annual Call for Proposals


€ 150 million's worth have been allocated for the support of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies through research and demonstration projects, with € 77.5 million from the European Commission matched by in-kind contributions from industry and research organisations.

The 2012 call covers 31 topics divided into 5 application areas: transportation and refuelling infrastructure; hydrogen production and distribution; stationary power generation, early markets and cross-cutting issues. 

The call for proposals FCH JU- 2012-1 is published on the participant portal, here.  


The deadline for submission of applications is May 24, 2012. 


U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Broad Agency Announcement


The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is the Navy's corporate laboratory. ONRL conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines. The basic research program is driven by perceptions about future requirements of the Navy. 


To accomplish this task, NRL has issued a general Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) soliciting proposals ranging from theoretical studies to proof-of-concept to include fabrication and delivery of a prototype.  Fuel cells and hydrogen are included in this BAA under the topics of Power/Energy Source Materials and Systems (61-11-01) and Corrosion Processes, Control, Mitigation, and Technology (61-11-02).  The deadline for proposals is June 16, 2012.


More information regarding the NRL BAA is available online here.


About the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Connection




Press releases and story ideas may be forwarded to Connor Dolan and Karen Hall for consideration at  cdolan@fchea.org and  khall@fchea.org respectively.


The Sponsors
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association --  The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA) is the world's premier advocacy organization dedicated to the commercialization of fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies.  Its membership represents the full spectrum of the supply chain from universities, government laboratories and agencies, fuel cell materials, component and system manufacturers, hydrogen producers and fuel distributors, utilities and other end users. (http://www.fchea.org/)


National Energy Technology Laboratory --  The National Energy Technology Laboratory is federally owned and operated.  Its mission is "We Solve National Energy and Environmental Problems."  NETL performs, procures, and partners in technical research, development, and demonstration to advance technology into the commercial marketplace, thereby benefiting the environment, contributing to U.S. employment, and advancing the position of U.S. industries in the global market. (http://www.netl.doe.gov)
Quick Links

Click here for PDF

Versions of the

Fuel Cell and Hydrogen

Energy Connection






Find us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterVisit our blog