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Hydrogen Storage

On-board hydrogen storage for transportation applications continues to be one of the most technically challenging barriers to the widespread commercialization of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The EERE hydrogen storage activity focuses primarily on the applied research and development (R&D) of low-pressure, materials-based technologies to allow for a driving range of more than 300 miles (500 km) while meeting packaging, cost, safety, and performance requirements to be competitive with current vehicles. While automakers have recently demonstrated progress with some prototype vehicles traveling more than 300 miles on a single fill, this driving range must be achievable across different vehicle models and without compromising space, performance, or cost. In addition, hydrogen storage will be needed for both other niche vehicular applications and off-board uses such as for stationary power generation and for hydrogen delivery and refueling infrastructure.

Since FY 2005, the hydrogen storage effort has been conducted under the framework of the National Hydrogen Storage Project. This effort includes independent projects and Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in applied hydrogen storage R&D funded by DOE/EERE and basic research projects for hydrogen storage funded by the DOE Office of Science. A new effort starting in FY 2009 is the Hydrogen Storage Engineering CoE that will provide a coordinated approach to the engineering R&D of on-board materials-based systems. The Engineering CoE is planned as a five-year effort and may produce up to three sub-scale prototype systems (based on the most promising materials under consideration) as its final output (subject to go/no-go decision points).

Crosscutting efforts on system analysis and material chemical and environmental reactivity are also included in the National Hydrogen Storage Project. The three current materials-development CoEs have been focused on specific hydrogen storage material classes: on-board reversible metal hydrides, hydrogen adsorbents, and chemical hydrogen storage materials, which are, in general, regenerated off the vehicle.

Hydrogen Storage Materials Database

The Fuel Cell Technologies Office hosts the Hydrogen Storage Materials Database to support the advancement of storage materials research and development. The database provides the research community with easy access to comprehensive, up-to-date materials data in one central location on adsorbents, chemicals, and metal hydrides. The database also includes information from DOE-funded research—pulled from a number of sources, including the historical Hydride Information Center database and the former DOE Centers of Excellence—and is being expanded to include non-DOE, international, and computational sources.