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NREL Wins Awards for Research, Development, and Analysis of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies

May 22, 2011

Each year, engineers, scientists, analysts, and others funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) showcase their hydrogen, fuel cell, and advanced vehicle technology projects at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting. This year, George Sverdrup and Marc Melaina of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) received Annual Merit Awards, along with nine other meeting participants from across the country, in honor of their outstanding achievements and significant contributions to the DOE Hydrogen Program. 

George Sverdrup, laboratory program manager of the NREL Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies Program, received an award in recognition of his contributions and dedication to the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies (FCT) Program. He has provided DOE and the FCT Program with valuable insight, leadership, and support over the years.

Tirelessly managing NREL's hydrogen and fuel cell activities funded by the FCT Program, Sverdrup ensures high quality deliverables across a broad range of technology areas. Under his leadership, NREL’s high quality technical staff within the past year have contributed to nearly ten major accomplishments across the FCT Program in areas such as photoelectrochemical hydrogen production, reforming of bio-oils, renewable electrolysis, DOE-DOT collaboration on fuel cell transit buses, fuel cell lab durability analysis, technology validation, biogas availability as feedstock for fuel cells, cost analysis of hydrogen fueling stations, and fuel cell data analysis for Recovery Act projects.

Marc Melaina, leader of NREL's Infrastructure Analysis Team, received a team award for his valuable technical and programmatic support of the FCT Program and his leadership of the NREL Analysis Team. Melaina and his team were instrumental in developing the Fuel Cell Power Model and other NREL-sponsored models and analysis of hydrogen for energy storage. The Fuel Cell Power model is a "first of its kind" model that provides a transparent and common input platform to evaluate financial investment, cost, and environmental benefits of stationary fuel cell options. The model is currently being used by national laboratories and industry to evaluate fuel cell opportunities at various campuses and installations.

One of Melaina's recent contributions involved the analysis and evaluation of infrastructure development for hydrogen fueling stations. Melaina and his team worked with industry, DOE, academia, and other national laboratories to identify areas for cost reduction and highlight key constraints for infrastructure construction and deployment. They engaged domestic and international stakeholders in meetings to assess constraints and cost drivers for the development of early market and transition hydrogen fueling infrastructure for light-duty fuel cell vehicles. In conjunction with these meetings, Melaina and his team developed a model to assess the cost of hydrogen based on current equipment and operating expenses and the potential for future cost reduction from "learning by doing" and economies of scale.

—Julia Thomas