In celebration of National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Week, Los Alamos National Laboratory joins scientists and engineers across the country to commemorate and raise awareness of hydrogen innovations and the role they play in a cleaner and more equitable energy future. While Oct. 8 is recognized as National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day (a nod to the atomic weight of hydrogen: 1.008), the Department of Energy devotes a full week (Oct. 5-12) to celebrating this important contributor to clean energy.
Hydrogen is rapidly growing as an alternative fuel for everything from trucks, buses and planes, to forklifts and drones. It can even be used as a source of backup power for data centers. To meet this growing demand, the Laboratory is developing new programs and facilities to evaluate hydrogen production, storage, infrastructure and fuel cell technologies for use at home and across the nation.
Here are five important contributions the Laboratory has made in partnership with regional and national collaborators to our nation’s hydrogen infrastructure:
- Leadership in I-WEST: The Intermountain West Energy Sustainability & Transitions (I-WEST) coalition brings together states, regional universities and colleges, research institutions, local communities and tribal entities to create a sustainable-energy economy. Sponsored by the Department of Energy and led by Los Alamos, the coalition aims to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in 15 years. At the same time, the goal is to repurpose existing energy production infrastructure, protect jobs of energy workers and support them in developing new skills to build high-quality careers in the emerging CO2 and hydrogen-based economy.
- Bringing clean-energy semi-trucks to a highway near you: Transitioning the trucking industry to clean energy would cut about 20 percent of transportation-related greenhouse gases in the United States. In support of this goal, a new program is co-led by the Laboratory to develop a dependable, long-lasting hydrogen fuel cell for trucks that can haul everything from food to furniture.
- Partnering to develop 'clean' hydrogen power for the Land of Enchantment: Earlier this year, several New Mexico state agencies signed an MOU focused on the development zero-carbon hydrogen with Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. The MOU leverages their respective areas of expertise to deliver timely, material and efficient transformation of energy systems to achieve economic prosperity, reach net zero emissions by 2050 economy wide, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in New Mexico at least 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.
- Driving advances in resilient energy projects: The Lab is involved in three consortia, both as co-leads and as a partner, designed to make hydrogen and fuel cell technologies more affordable and competitive in today’s market. Each collaboration addresses both near-term commercialization needs, and the longer-term research and development to enable resiliency, energy security, and economic growth across multiple sectors.
- Initiating technology testbeds and local transportation: For Los Alamos and other communities dependent on cleaner, more sustainable bus transportation, the Laboratory is committed to transition the local bus fleet into fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) using hydrogen fuel by 2030. A recently LANL approved facility to be built in the Lab’s former gas-fired power and steam plant will be known as the Energy Transition Center of Excellence (ETCE). The new mission of integrated clean energy technologies at near-utility scale will offer a combination of research opportunities and path to decarbonizing the Lab’s power operations. The new facility will receive and/or produce hydrogen, store and fuel on-site, and pilot operation of FCEV buses. The first buses are expected on LANL routes by 2024.
Celebrate Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Week your way with a list of suggested activities and resources from the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office.