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U.S. Department of Energy Selects 12 Projects to Improve Fossil-Based Hydrogen Production, Transport, Storage and Utilization
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 12 projects to receive approximately $16.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared cooperative agreements to help recalibrate the nation’s vast fossil-fuel and power infrastructure for decarbonized energy and commodity production. The selected projects will develop technologies for the production, transport, storage and utilization of fossil-based hydrogen, with progress toward net-zero carbon emissions.   

Fossil fuels currently provide the lowest cost pathway for producing hydrogen, according to cost data in a recent DOE Hydrogen Strategy Document. The U.S. will authorize advanced and novel technologies capable of improving the performance, reliability, and flexibility of methods to produce, transport, store, and use hydrogen. This will enable the U.S. to continue to extract the maximum economic value from fossil fuel energy resources. When coupled with carbon capture and storage capabilities, low-cost hydrogen sourced from fossil energy feedstocks and processes will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of these processes and enable progress toward hydrogen production with net-zero carbon emissions.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, which fall under four areas of interest (AOIs):

AOI 5: Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell (SOEC) Technology Development for Hydrogen Production 

  • Durable and High-Performance SOECs Based on Proton Conductors for Hydrogen Production — Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA) will assess the degradation mechanisms of the electrolyte, electrode and catalyst materials under electrolysis conditions to gain insights for rational design of better electrode and catalyst materials. The project’s main objective is to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of a low-cost, highly efficient reversible solid oxide cell (RSOC) system based on proton conductors for hydrogen (H2) and electricity generation. 
    DOE Funding: $1,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $250,000; Total Value: $1,250,000
  • Improving Durability and Performance of Solid Oxide Electrolyzers by Controlling Surface Composition on Oxygen Electrodes — Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) will research the degradation pathway that couples surface chemistry to impurity poisoning on perovskite oxygen electrodes, taking (La0.6Sr0.4)0.95Co0.2Fe0.8O3- (LSCF) as a model, state-of-the-art oxygen electrode. Project goals are to 1) improve the chemical and electrochemical stability of LSCF as a state-of-the-art oxygen-electrode, against dopant (Sr) segregation and the consequent poisoning by chromium (Cr) and sulfur (S); 2) develop infiltration chemistries to enable the surface modifications in the most effective, efficient and economical way, to suppress the Sr segregation and the Cr- and S-poisoning processes; and 3) advance understanding of the role of operational parameters on oxygen electrode performance.
    DOE Funding: $1,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $250,000; Total Value: $1,250,000
  • Development of Stable Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell for Low-Cost Hydrogen Production — OxEon Energy LLC (North Salt Lake, UT) OxEon Energy LLC will operate a solid oxide electrolysis cell stack in a laboratory test bed showing improved performance over baseline stacks exhibiting robustness, reliability, endurance, H2 purity, and producing H2 at elevated pressure of 2 to 3 bar. At the conclusion of the project, the team will operate a short stack of 6-cells under various steam conversion conditions for at least 500 hours and then an additional 300 hours in SOFC mode to verify reversible operation. A separate short stack will be tested for a period of 100 hours to produce H2 at a pressure of 2 to 3 bar.
    DOE Funding: $999,526; Non-DOE Funding: $250,000; Total Value: $1,249,526
  • Development of Novel 3D Cell Structure and Manufacturing Processes for Highly Efficient, Durable and Redox Resistant Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells — The Regents of the University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA) will evaluate and demonstrate a highly efficient, durable and reduction-oxidation (redox) resistant solid oxide electrolysis cell technology for H2 production. This project focuses on the development of a novel cell design and its corresponding manufacturing processes and will culminate in the demonstration of a scaled-up SOEC featuring a design with improved performance, enhanced redox resistance and increased durability under conditions suitable for H2 production from steam. The results of the project could form the basis for further development to advance the technology for practical applications and commercialization.
     DOE Funding: $999,913; Non-DOE Funding: $250,956; Total Value: $1,250,869
  • Development of High-Performance Metal-Supported SOECs and Innovative Diagnostic Methodologies — University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Lafayette, LA) will develop high-performance metal-supported solid oxide electrolysis cells and innovative diagnostic methodologies to achieve net-zero or negative emissions. The team plans to fabricate metal-supported solid oxide electrolysis cells (MS-SOECs) to improve the electrolysis performance while maintaining mechanical strength for the stack assembly; develop accelerated test protocols for SOECs and apply theoretical analysis to improve its stability and suppress oxygen electrode declamation; and use machine learning to study the dependence of electrochemical performance on microstructural details of an electrode.
    DOE Funding: $1,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $250,000; Total Value: $1,250,000
  • Developing Stable Critical Materials and Microstructure for High-Flux and Efficient H2 production through Reversible Solid Oxide Cells — University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC) will advance RSOC technology for standalone or hybrid power and H2 production by addressing critical and unsolved issues through foundational materials and microstructure innovations. The impact of the project could assist the commercialization course of RSOC technology and expands it to utility markets such as distributed standalone or hybrid power and H2 generation as a means of energy storage.
    DOE Funding: $1,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $250,301; Total Value: $1,250,301
  • Designing Internal Surfaces of Porous Electrodes in Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells for Highly Efficient and Durable Hydrogen Production — West Virginia University Research Corporation (Morgantown, WV) will develop and implant highly active and robust nano-scale coating layers to the internal surface of a porous electrode. The coating layer will be developed using the additive manufacturing process of atomic layer deposition (ALD) and will be implanted on the internal surface of porous electrodes of the as fabricated commercial cells directly. The project will provide a simple solution to various materials challenges at the cell level and could further enable extensive and more efficient SOEC stacks and systems.
    DOE Funding: $1,000,000; Non-DOE Funding: $250,000; Total Value: $1,250,000
  • Heterostructured Cr Resistant Oxygen Electrode for SOECs — Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Worcester, MA) will design, test, and validate oxygen electrode materials for SOECs that maintain high performance and low degradation rates in the operation conditions with the presence of Cr-containing gas impurities using a combined integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) and lab-scale testing approach. The recipient believes that when fully optimized, this oxygen electrode material would have an intrinsic, long-term degradation rate of less than 0.3%/1000 hours at 700oC. 
    DOE Funding: $999, 973; Non-DOE Funding: $250,786; Total Value: $1,250,759

AOI 7A: Advanced CCUS Systems from Steam Methane Reforming Plants   

  • Engineering Study of Svante’s Solid Sorbent Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Technology at a Linde Steam Methane Reforming H2 Plant — Linde Inc. (Danbury, CT) will complete an initial engineering design of a commercial-scale carbon dioxide (CO2) capture plant for a steam methane reformer (SMR), using the Svante VeloxoTherm™ solid adsorbent CO2 capture technology to make blue H2. The overall system would be designed to capture approximately 1,100,000 tonnes/year net CO2 with 90% or greater carbon capture efficiency while producing H2 with 99.97% purity, from an existing Linde SMR H2 plant along the US Gulf Coast. The project is intended to achieve the overall DOE performance goals of a 90% CO2 capture rate with 95% CO2 purity from a SMR plant producing 99.97% H2 from natural gas.
    DOE Funding: $1,498,778; Non-DOE Funding: $374,695; Total Value: $1,873,473
  • Initial Engineering Design Study for Advanced CO2 Capture from Hydrogen Production Unit at Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery — Phillips 66 (Houston, TX) will complete an initial engineering design of a commercial scale, advanced CO2 capture and sequestration (CCS) plant that separates and stores ~190,000 tons/year net CO2 with more than 90% carbon capture efficiency from an existing steam reforming plant at Phillips 66 Rodeo Refinery, California. The goal of this project is to advance the CCS technology for commercialization in a steam reforming plant application.
    DOE Funding: $959,089; Non-DOE Funding: $242,106; Total Value: $1,201,195

AOI 7B: Advanced CCUS Systems from Autothermal Methane Reforming Plants 

  • Blue Bison ATR Advanced CCUS System — Initial Engineering of a 1.66MTPY CO2 Capture Unit from Tallgrass Planned Blue Bison ATR Producing 220 MMSCFD of Pure HydrogenTallgrass MLP Operations LLC (Johnson, KS) will design a commercial-scale carbon capture unit capable of separating and storing 1.66 million tonne/year of 95% pure CO2 with more than 97% carbon capture efficiency. As designed, the Blue Bison plant will, for the first time, combine carbon capture, pure H2 production (220 MMSCFD at 99.97% purity), and H2 combustion in auxiliary burners. This project would act as a precursor to the proposed development of a replicable world scale ATR blue H2 plant that could produce a cost competitive, carbon-neutral fuel that can significantly decarbonize the energy economy while simultaneously capitalizing on the nation’s vast natural resources.
    DOE Funding: $1,499,374; Non-DOE Funding: $375,496; Total Value: $1,874,870

AOI 9C: Hydrogen Combustion Systems for Gas Turbines – Industrial Class

  • Development of a Retrofittable Dry Low Emissions Industrial Gas Turbine Combustion System for 100% Hydrogen and Natural Gas Blends — Solar Turbines Incorporated (San Diego, CA) will develop a retrofittable dry low emissions gas turbine combustion system for 100% hydrogen and hydrogen/natural gas blends. This project would enable industrial gas turbines to provide carbon free, rapidly dispatchable power that is vital to grid stability. The proposed work will advance an existing, early development stage hydrogen combustion technology to an engine-ready design. Overall project objectives include construction and rig testing of a complete combustion system capable of functioning in 100% hydrogen and natural gas blends, demonstrating prototype feasibility and combustion performance, developing engine control algorithms and hydrogen flame detection methodologies, formulating reduced kinetic mechanisms for use with CFD/LES analysis followed by bench-scale and rig test validations, and performing techno-economic analyses for gas turbine power plants and pipeline compressor stations fueled with hydrogen.
    DOE Funding: $4,500,000; Non-DOE Funding: $1,125,000; Total Value: $5,625,000

The Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, visit the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management website or sign up for FECM news announcements. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available on the NETL website.