Hydrogen Fueling Competition Now Underway. The Prize: $1 Million.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) and the Hydrogen Education Foundation (HEF) announced the launch of the $1 Million H2 Refuel H-Prize. The two-year competition challenges America’s engineers and entrepreneurs to develop affordable systems for small-scale hydrogen fueling. This H-Prize competition will assist in expanding the hydrogen infrastructure across the country to support more transportation energy options for U.S. consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
Successful entries will install and test systems that generate hydrogen using electricity or natural gas for refueling hydrogen vehicles. The winning team will receive a $1 million cash prize.
Hydrogen infrastructure remains the most critical barrier to the widespread adoption of FCEVs. The H2 Refuel competition aims to address this barrier through easily deployed small scale fueling systems for home and community use until widespread infrastructure development takes place.
With support from the FCTO, private industry, and the Energy Department’s national laboratories, significant advances in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies have already been achieved. In the last several years, automotive fuel cell costs have been reduced by more than 50 percent, fuel cell durability has doubled, and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80 percent since 2005.
The competition is planned to last two years. In the first year, teams will register for the competition, find partners, design a system, find a site to install the system, and submit data and designs to a panel of independent judges. These judges will select the top teams as finalists to advance to the testing phase. Finalist teams would then have seven months to build, install, and prepare their systems for testing. The winner would demonstrate that they can meet both the technical and cost criteria as outlined in the final guidelines. The H2 Refuel H-Prize is administered for the Department of Energy by the Hydrogen Education Foundation.
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