WASHINGTON, June 14,2017 - The Department of Energy is putting up $15.8 million to fund 30 projects focusing on new and cost-effective materials for hydrogen production and the storage for fuel cells on light-duty vehicles.

The projects will further the goal of enabling budget-friendly and efficient transportation through fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) using hydrogen fuel derived from domestic resources, DOE says in a release.

“Fuel cell vehicles have the potential to significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower harmful emissions that contribute to climate change,” DOE says on its website. Since 2015, more than 2,000 FCEVs have been sold or leased nationally.

There are several challenges that FCEVs must overcome to compete on the vehicle market, the department says. However, their benefits are considerable. The vehicles require 95 percent less petroleum per mile than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Plus, FCEVs are quiet operators and have no tailpipe emissions.

Nineteen projects are aimed at accelerating the development of advanced water-splitting materials for hydrogen production. Four projects will focus on PGM-free Catalyst and Electrode R&D and another four projects will research hydrogen storage materials discovery. The remaining three projects will hone in on precursor development for low-cost, high-strength carbon fiber to reduce the cost of onboard hydrogen storage tanks necessary for FCEVs.

“The selected … projects will leverage unique, world-class capabilities at the national laboratories, facilitating collaborations that will expedite the development of advanced materials,” according to the department.

Click here to learn more about DOE’s broader efforts to develop affordable, efficient fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.