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NREL Garners Awards for Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Research and Development

June 17, 2010

Each year, engineers, scientists, analysts, and others funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) meet in Washington, D.C. to showcase their hydrogen, fuel cell, and advanced vehicle technology projects at the Annual Merit Review. This year, DOE presented National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) staffers and and two of our subcontractors with four prestigious awards.

NREL’s Michael Penev and Darlene Steward received team awards for developing the Fuel Cell Power Model, an analysis tool used by national laboratories and industry to assess the cost, energy savings, and benefits of fuel cells. Using the model, they provided input for fuel cell evaluations and insight into critical financing mechanisms for fuel cells, including the analysis of tax credits. They also developed numerous business cases for performing financial and economic evaluations of fuel cell applications, with a focus on integrating stationary fuel cells with combined heat, hydrogen, and power systems.

Lin Simpson accepted a team award for the DOE Hydrogen Sorption Center of Excellence (HSCoE) for advancing the state-of-the-art in hydrogen storage materials. Simpson is director of the HSCoE, which was among three centers of excellence recognized for significantly increasing the understanding and development of hydrogen storage materials over the past five years. Together, the centers have investigated more than 400 new material systems experimentally and millions computationally. These advances could not have been achieved without the collective creativity and synergy of the partners as well as the managers who encouraged their coordination and teamwork.

The HSCoE leverages the expertise of DOE national laboratories in partnership with academia and industry. Key NREL staffers include Jeff Blackburn, Justin Bult, Mark Davis, Anne Dillon, Tyler Elko-Hansen, Buzz Curtis, Chaiwat Engtrakul, Thomas Gennett, Amy Groves, Aditi Herwadkar, Kevin O’Neill, Philip Parilla, John-David Rocha, Erin Whitney, Qiang Xu, Yufeng Zhao, and former staffers Mike Heben, Yong-Hyun Kim, and Shengbai Zhang.

NREL consultant Douglas Wheeler received an award for his contributions to DOE’s fuel cell manufacturing efforts. Wheeler provided analyses of industrial manufacturing capabilities for polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell systems and is currently working with NREL to develop a manufacturing readiness assessment process for U.S. companies. He also served on an NREL-commissioned independent review panel that evaluated the 2008 Fuel Cell System Cost Estimate for Transportation and participated in a panel that assessed the status of small combined heat and power systems.

John Christensen, also an NREL consultant, received an award for his contributions to the market transformation activity within the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Program. Christensen was instrumental in the deployment of 60 forklifts at a defense distribution depot and air force base as well as the installation of emergency backup power at more than 15 Department of Defense sites and 25 Federal Aviation Administration sites. He also facilitated numerous industry presentations and interagency discussions about fuel cell deployments for the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Federal Interagency Working Group.


—Julia Thomas