Saturday, November 28, 2009

DOE RFI Details Near Term Markets for Fuel Cells

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from prospective fuel cell system users, fuel cell component and system suppliers, and other stakeholders on performance and cost requirements for fuel storage subsystems for near-term, early market fuel cell applications (e.g., for mobile applications such as forklifts, stationary back-up power, and portable power).

This RFI is intended to be "fuel neutral" with a focus on defining the fuel storage needs and requirements for early market fuel cell applications to facilitate successful market transformation in a competitive environment. This information will be used by DOE in a preliminary assessment and ultimate determination of the storage system performance requirements.

To respond to this RFI, read the Request for Information (PDF 133 KB), respond to the four questions/issues on page four, and send an e-mail to with the responses attached using Microsoft Word (.doc) format by December 15, 2009

The EERE Fuel Cell Technologies Program seeks to advance the development and deployment of fuel cells for power generation in a variety of stationary, portable, and transportation applications. In support of this goal, EERE funds a broad range of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies research, development and demonstration (RD&D) activities. A detailed description of the program, including technical and cost targets, can be found in the Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan.

The Program is currently working to identify appropriate performance and cost requirements for fuel storage subsystems for near-term, early markets for fuel cells. The requirements will be driven by consumer/user expectations for the various applications, rather than by the operating parameters or constraints of specific technologies. Cost and performance requirements and their accompanying time-based targets will be set with industry and market input and will help guide the RD&D required for improvements in physical storage systems and/or solid state storage materials, designs, and systems.

The Program has identified the following priority early market fuel cell application categories as highly important to market transformation for fuel cell technologies:

Mobile: <10 kW Service/utility vehicle applications such as fork lifts, material handlers, and airport vehicles Stationary Power: 1-10 kW Remote (e.g. off-grid) applications such as weather monitoring, sensors, instrumentation, communications, and highway information signals . Back-up power applications such as telecommunications uninterrupted power supply (UPS), computing, instrumentation, and emergency power . Residential applications for prime or auxiliary power .

Other near-term applications which may also be addressed in response to this RFI include the following: Mobile Power: 1-10kW Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) applications such as highway long-haul trucks, portable floodlight sets, refrigerator trucks, construction, emergency, and recreational vehicles.

Stationary Power: >10kW Commercial combined heat, power, and hydrogen production (CHHP) applications such as apartment and office buildings, strip malls, small business, and light industrial.  1-10kW Residential CHHP applications such as single-family homes .

Portable Power:  <500w Hand-held applications such as communications, computing, entertainment, image processing, toys, medical, sensor, instrumentation, and battery replacement. >500W Higher power portable applications such as power tools, communications, emergency power, and instrumentation.

Note: military/defense applications are not within the scope of this RFI due to the extensive RD&D currently being sponsored by the Department of Defense. In addition to the operating and cost requirements to be determined, the storage system must not reduce overall fuel cell efficiency by more than ~10% if heat is needed to release the fuel.  Technical questions may be addressed to Comments must be provided by no later than 11:59 PM EDT on December 15, 2009.

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