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2008 Annual Merit Review Awards

Each year, the Peer Review Panel at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting reviews the hydrogen and fuel cell projects funded by DOE's Hydrogen Program. After evaluating the merit of the 2008 hydrogen and fuel cell projects, the Peer Review Panel presented the following awards.

DOE Hydrogen Program

George Thomas, Sandia National Laboratory, retired

This award recognizes George Thomas' past and continued technical excellence and outstanding dedication to the DOE Hydrogen Program in support of the President's Advanced Energy Initiative and the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. Thomas' contributions to the Hydrogen Storage activity have been invaluable in developing and implementing DOE's "National Hydrogen Storage Project." During his two years at DOE, and in his continued contributions via the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership Hydrogen Storage Technical Team, Thomas has provided DOE and the program with valuable technical insight, leadership, and guidance.

Safety, Codes, and Standards and Fuel Cells R&D

Jim Ohi, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, retired

This award recognizes the valuable technical and programmatic support that Jim Ohi has provided to the DOE Hydrogen Program in the areas of hydrogen safety, codes, and standards. Ohi has been instrumental in developing a national codes and standards template in partnership with national and international organizations. One of his most recent contributions is the coordination of fuel quality efforts, which included identifying critical constituents, developing testing protocols, and standardizing data collection methods. He has also built consensus among key players to support the development of an international fuel quality standard by 2010.

Fuel Cells R&D

Radoslav Adzic, Brookhaven National Laboratory

This award recognizes Dr. Radoslav Adzic of Brookhaven National Laboratory for his outstanding contributions to research in the synthesis and characterization of electrocatalysts. In addition to his previous successes in demonstrating ultra-low anode platinum loading, Dr. Adzic has recently demonstrated ternary alloy core-shell cathode catalysts with more than three times the mass activity of state-of-the-art dispersed platinum catalysts alone. In addition, Dr. Adzic has demonstrated that the gold structures in these catalysts have a stabilizing effect, which increases durability under potential cycling.

Mark Debe and Steven Hamrock, 3M

This award recognizes Mark Debe and Steven Hamrock of 3M for their outstanding contributions to improving the durability of membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs). MEAs that they developed and demonstrated have exceeded DOE's 2010 durability target of 5,000 hours at 80ºC. Improving fuel cell durability is one of the critical path challenges facing the commercialization of fuel cell vehicles, and improving durability of MEAs is essential to this effort. Through the use of organic crystalline catalyst supports; ternary alloy nano-structured, thin-film catalysts; and a mechanically stabilized membrane from W.L. Gore, their MEAs operated for more than 7,300 hours under voltage cycling conditions.

Storage R&D

Ralph Yang, University of Michigan
Boris Yakobson, Rice University
Michael Miller, Southwest Research Institute

This award recognizes Dr. Ralph Yang of the University of Michigan, Dr. Boris Yakobson of Rice University, and Dr. Michael Miller of Southwest Research Institute for their research addressing the understanding, development, and validation of spillover materials that store hydrogen at nominal pressure and close to room temperature. These materials, pioneered by Dr. Yang, were first studied within the Hydrogen Sorption Center of Excellence and have shown significant hydrogen storage capacities at near-room temperature—a dramatic improvement over prior efforts in sorption materials, which required cryogenic temperatures. Dr. Yang developed the original concept of bridged spillover materials and spurred worldwide research in this area, which has led to the development of sorbents that achieve approximately 4% storage capacity by weight, at room temperature and 100 bar pressure.

Dr. Yakobson has developed theoretical models to shed light on the underlying processes that determine the transient performance of these materials. This understanding is critical to the rapid and efficient optimization of spillover sorbents. Dr. Miller's work at Southwest Research Institute has independently validated the performance of this class of materials. He is also collaborating in the development of spillover sorbents under the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy's NESSHY project (Novel Efficient Solid Storage for Hydrogen), where materials have been developed that demonstrate 8% hydrogen storage capacity by weight at room temperature.

Karl Johnson, University of Pittsburgh
David Sholl, Georgia Institute of Technology (formerly of Carnegie Mellon University)
Sudhakar Alapati, Carnegie Mellon University (currently at Intel)

This award recognizes Dr. Karl Johnson of the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. David Sholl of the Georgia Institute of Technology (formerly of Carnegie Mellon University), and his graduate student Dr. Sudhakar Alipati for their outstanding contributions to the development of theory-based models for the rapid screening of hydrogen storage materials and identification of reactions of interest for hydrogen storage applications. Their development of density functional theory-based models has enabled the rapid screening of over 16 million distinct compositions of lightweight elements to identify specific reactions that might allow them to meet or exceed DOE's hydrogen storage targets. This systematic methodology has resulted in a cost-effective approach to developing hydrogen storage materials by focusing experimental efforts on reaction chemistries with the highest potential for success.

Production R&D

Eric L. Miller, University of Hawaii at Manoa

This award recognizes Eric Miller and his research team for the substantial advances they have made in understanding the behavior of several direct water-splitting materials, including copper chalcopyrite and tungsten oxide. They have also developed devices for water splitting, including hybrid solid-state/electrochemical photoelectrodes, for which they have secured two patents. Miller has also been involved in other program activities, including co-chairing the Photoelectrochemical Working Group; identifying barriers, technical targets, and milestones for the DOE Hydrogen Program's RD&D plan; creating the outline for a common photoelectrochemical (PEC) database to be used across this technology area; acting as the operating agent for the International Energy Agency's new PEC Annex; successfully co-managing the University of Nevada, Las Vegas–led, multi-organization PEC project; and partnering with industry to lead PEC hydrogen production toward commercialization.

Systems Analysis

Michael Wang, Argonne National Laboratory

This award recognizes Michael Wang for his valuable contributions to the program's Systems Analysis efforts. Wang has provided the program with key well-to-wheels analysis of hydrogen and competing fuels from multiple production pathways. He has been instrumental in the development of the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) model, which is used worldwide for well-to-wheels analysis of many energy pathways. Under Wang's direction, Argonne National Laboratory has modified the model to accommodate early market applications such as forklifts and distributed power generation, and he is leading the effort to provide analytical capabilities for gasoline and hydrogen fuel cell plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Mark Ruth, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This award recognizes Mark Ruth for his contributions to the program's Systems Analysis activities and the Fuel Pathway Integration Technical Team (FPITT). His efforts have been integral to the development of the Macro-System Model, which provides the capability to estimate the economics, primary energy source requirements, and emissions of full production and delivery pathways consistently and holistically, and it has been used in analyses by DOE, FPITT, and others. Developing the Macro-System Model involved overcoming the substantial challenge of integrating a number of models into a single interface, and the project was completed ahead of schedule. The model has been peer-reviewed and applied to a number of projects, including global analysis projects. Ruth has also been instrumental in integrating risk and stochastic analysis with hydrogen analysis production and delivery models, and he was a co-leader in the Hydrogen Program's recent risk analysis efforts, through which he developed analytical techniques that are now being used throughout EERE.