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Energy Department Awards NREL Staff for Outstanding Achievement

June 27, 2014

Each year at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program presents awards for contributions to the overall efforts of the program and to recognize achievements in specific areas. This year, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program honored three National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) staff for their outstanding achievements. See the full list of award winners.

Hydrogen Production – Todd Deutsch
This award recognizes Todd Deutsch of NREL, Tadashi Ogitsu of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Clemens Heske of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for outstanding dedication and collaboration in photoelectrochemical surface validation. Their ground-breaking work, which integrates state-of-the art tools and methods in materials theory, synthesis, and characterization, has led to the development and validation of novel ab-initio models of photoelectrochemical solar hydrogen production and corrosion processes. These models have been crucial in the development of corrosion mitigation strategies for high-efficiency photoelectrochemical devices based on III-V semiconductor materials, offering a viable pathway to meet the U.S. Department of Energy's ultimate cost targets in renewable hydrogen production.

Technology Validation – Jennifer Kurtz
This award recognizes NREL's Jennifer Kurtz for the valuable contributions she has made in support of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program's technology validation efforts over the last seven years. Jen has developed strong relationships with hydrogen infrastructure providers, automotive original equipment manfacturers that operate fuel cell electric vehicles, fuel cell companies, and early market technology providers. She brought with her real-world technology experience from her previous role at UTC Power as a mechanical integrator. Through her role as the hydrogen analysis group manager at NREL, she has implemented unique methodologies for the compilation, analysis, and dissemination of data from validation projects, and has provided valuable feedback to both industry partners and to the government on the state-of-the-art of fuel cell electric vehicles, hydrogen infrastructure, and early fuel cell markets. Jen is also recognized for publishing a variety of composite data products that detail the performance characteristics of fuel cell technologies. Through Jen's efforts, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program is providing real-world performance data to the R&D community, national and international stakeholders, and the American public.

Market Transformation – Michael Penev
This award recognizes NREL's Michael Penev for outstanding achievements in early market fuel cell application cost analysis. Mike has been instrumental in leading the development of cost estimates for the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative and the site specific cost analysis for the General Services Administration's (GSA) Fort Armstrong site. One of his key recent contributions has been his analysis and evaluation of the infrastructure development for hydrogen fueling stations in Honolulu for initial infrastructure and full build out stages of development. On the GSA Fort Armstrong site project, Mike led the effort to develop a positive net present value for a first-of-its-kind solar photovoltaic (PV) water electrolysis hydrogen refueling station. Through his creativity and persistence, Mike developed secondary and tertiary revenue streams that resulted in a positive return on investment cash flow scenario by selling PV power to the grid during peak hours and buying off peak grid power for water electrolysis for the hydrogen refueling station.

—Sara Havig