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NREL Staff Recognized by DOE for Outstanding Achievements

June 12, 2015

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 four National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) staff for their outstanding achievements. See the full list of award winners.

Hydrogen Production – Pin-Ching Maness

This award recognizes NREL's Pin-Ching Maness for her outstanding achievements in biological hydrogen production. Maness is the principal group manager of the Photobiology Group at NREL, where she has been working for nearly 35 years. During her time at NREL she has contributed to research addressing nearly every type of biological hydrogen production pathway, from microbial water-gas shift reactions in photosynthetic bacteria to fermentation of corn stover. In her recent work with the Fuel Cell Technologies Office, she developed molecular biology tools that allow the genetic modification of the bacterium Clostridium thermocellum, making NREL one of the few labs capable of genetically manipulating this promising strain, and demonstrated the ability of the strain to produce hydrogen from renewable lignocellulosic biomass resources. In addition to her research activities, she has contributed her technical expertise to the field in other ways, such as assisting in developing techno-economic analysis models for biological hydrogen production pathways and organizing the Biological Hydrogen Production Workshop.

Systems Analysis – Marc Melaina, Brian Bush, and Michael Penev

This award recognizes Marc Melaina, Brian Bush, and Michael Penev of NREL and Amgad Elgowainy of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) for their outstanding achievements in the development of hydrogen station techno-economic and financial tools in support of DOE's efforts and the H2USA public-private partnership. NREL developed a first-of-a-kind tool known as H2FAST (Hydrogen Financial Analysis Scenario Tool) that can be used to financially evaluate a single hydrogen fueling station or a network of stations. This online, user-friendly tool enables potential station investors or other interested parties to determine the economic viability of a station, or multiple station investments, using a combination of default or custom (user-generated) inputs. ANL developed the Hydrogen Refueling Station Analysis Model (known as HRSAM), which allows users to analyze the techno-economic performance of different types of refueling stations and equipment, and develops accurate cost estimates based on current technology that can be used in H2FAST. These two new models align to provide the community with powerful analysis tools needed to optimize the hydrogen infrastructure rollout.

—Wayne Hicks