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2009 Hydrogen Program 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 2009 hydrogen and fuel cell projects, the Peer Review Panel presented the following awards.

DOE Hydrogen Program (with special recognition for outstanding technical contributions)

Jay Keller, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

This award recognizes Jay Keller's past and continued outstanding dedication to the DOE Hydrogen Program. Jay's contributions to a number of activities in the Hydrogen Program have been invaluable. These areas have included Safety, Codes and Standards, Hydrogen Storage, and Education. For example, Jay has been instrumental in guiding the leadership of the Metal Hydride Center of Excellence, representing DOE at international meetings, developing and implementing projects of high technical quality, and mentoring lab staff to ensure that SNL maintains robust and well-respected core capabilities for the nation. Jay has provided DOE and the Program with technical insight, leadership, and guidance over the years.

Fuel Cells

Fernando Garzon, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

This award recognizes Dr. Fernando Garzon of Los Alamos National Laboratory for his outstanding contributions to the investigation of the effects of impurities on fuel cell performance and durability. Fernando and his team at LANL had previously shown that very small amounts of sulfur impurities can affect the fuel cell reactions on the Pt catalysts. Recently, Fernando and his team found that the hydrogen sulfide impurities can cross over the fuel cell membrane and contaminate catalysts at the fuel cell cathode. Their data are vital for theoretical modeling efforts of the long-term operation of fuel cells in the presence of contaminants.

Cortney Mittelsteadt, Giner Electrochemical Systems LLC

This award recognizes Dr. Cortney Mittelsteadt of Giner Electrochemical Systems LLC for his outstanding contributions in the development of fuel cell membranes. Giner's "Dimensionally Stable Membranes" project, lead by Cortney, has produced composite material membranes with improved membrane durability. They have achieved the DOE membrane conductivity performance targets for 80°C and 95°C operation and have projected that their membrane can also meet the DOE membrane cost targets.

Production and Delivery

Ludwig Lipp, FuelCell Energy

This award recognizes Dr. Ludwig Lipp of FuelCell Energy for his valuable contributions in advancing the concept of electrochemical compression of hydrogen. In this project, Dr. Lipp increased both pressure and the number of compression cycles of an electrochemical compressor with reduced leak rate, thereby consistently meeting DOE targets. Dr. Lipp provided comparative market analysis and showed how the technology can meet different DOE Program needs going above and beyond project deliverables. Steady progress over the last few years has been made and is demonstrated by moving from an SBIR Phase I to Phase II project. FuelCell Energy has been aggressive in exceeding milestones and providing valuable information to evaluate the technology.


Scott Jorgenson, General Motors Corporation

This award recognizes Scott Jorgenson of General Motors Corporation for his outstanding contributions to the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership Hydrogen Storage Technology Team and for his support of the DOE Hydrogen Storage Subprogram. Scott was a founding member of the FreedomCAR Hydrogen Storage Technical Team, and his service on the team, including two terms as the OEM co-chair, has been characterized by exceptional commitment, professionalism, and technical excellence. Scott consistently provides valuable technical feedback to researchers. He makes a significant effort to ensure that researchers presenting before the team leave with constructive feedback that will enrich their research programs.

Kevin Ott, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Christopher Aardahl, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

This award recognizes Dr. Kevin Ott of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Dr. Christopher Aardahl of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for their valuable contributions as the principal leads of the Chemical Hydrogen Storage Center of Excellence. The Center partners as a whole have exhibited excellent team work by sharing their expertise and working collaboratively to achieve a common goal. This achievement is an outcome of the outstanding job of coordination and facilitation by Kevin and Chris. They have excelled in planning a focused path forward for the Center by identifying both short-term and long-term goals and areas requiring additional or special focus. By putting an IP agreement in place early on, LANL provided the forum for open exchange of new information and lessons learned between the Center partners. The Center has been commended in previous Annual Merit Reviews and FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership reviews for demonstrating a well-managed and coordinated group effort approach that enables greater progress than would have been possible by a group of individuals working on their own. As a result, the Center has developed and demonstrated more than 120 chemical materials approaches and documented a systematic down selection process and results.

Technology Validation

Keith Wipke, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

This award recognizes Dr. Keith Wipke of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for his and his team's valuable contributions to analysis and publication of the data provided by the automobile and energy companies in the National Hydrogen Learning Demonstration project. For over five years, Dr. Wipke has led a team at NREL that has developed unique methodologies for the compilation, analysis, and dissemination of data from the project and has provided valuable feedback to both industry partners and to the government on the state-of-the-art of fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure. Through Dr. Wipke's efforts, DOE is providing real-world performance data from 140 hydrogen-powered vehicles and 20 hydrogen fueling stations to the R&D community, national and international stakeholders, and the American public.

Safety, Codes, and Standards

Chris Moen, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)

This award recognizes the valuable technical and programmatic support that Dr. Chris Moen and his team at Sandia National Laboratories have provided in developing data, models, and quantitative risk assessments for use in science-based code development, specifically for set-back distances for hydrogen installations. Chris and his team have been actively engaged with code and standard development organizations, specifically the National Fire Protection Agency and International Standards Organization (ISO), in their code development activities. The SNL research has been published in a number of journal articles and reports and has been shared internationally, such as with the International Energy Agency's Task 19 Hydrogen Safety group and the European Union's HYPER project on permitting stationary fuel cell installations. This work has been a national resource, valuable to DOE, its stakeholders, and other agencies including the Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense.

Systems Analysis

Romesh Kumar, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)

This award recognizes the valuable technical and programmatic support that Romesh Kumar has provided to the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Program through his leadership in the area of hydrogen quality evaluation for PEM fuel cells. Romesh has been instrumental in leading the analysis and evaluation of the impact of impurities on hydrogen production cost and fuel cell performance and durability. One of his key contributions has been leadership of the hydrogen quality working group, which includes industry, DOE, national laboratories, and academia, to identify critical parameters, develop models and analyses of fuel cell performance and fuel cost tradeoffs, and develop strategies to meet the hydrogen quality requirements for ISO and SAE specifications.