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2022 Annual Merit Review Awards

Each year, at the Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program presents awards for contributions to the overall efforts of the Program and to recognize research, development, and demonstration achievements in specific areas.

Hydrogen Technologies—Production

Aditya Mohite, William Marsh Rice University

This award is presented to Dr. Aditya Mohite of Rice University for achieving an integrated halide perovskite photoelectrochemical cell with record-setting solar-driven water-splitting efficiency of 20.8%. Mohite's system exhibited extended durability due to a novel graphite anticorrosion barrier that translates >99% of photoelectric power directly to hydrogen production. His work increasing the durability and efficiency of photoelectrochemical systems has led the way toward deployment of this renewable hydrogen production technology at scale.

Hydrogen Technologies—Storage and Infrastructure

Travis Williams, University of Southern California, and John Gordon, Los Alamos National Laboratory

This award recognizes Dr. Travis Williams of the University of Southern California and Dr. John Gordon of Los Alamos National Laboratory for their outstanding work demonstrating improved catalysts for the dehydrogenation of high-capacity hydrogen carriers. The team led by Williams and Gordon has demonstrated the efficient dehydrogenation of formic acid using a continuous demonstration reactor with no observed loss of catalyst activity over more than 20 cycles. This process has also demonstrated the ability to generate high-pressure hydrogen, an attractive feature of hydrogen carriers that could potentially reduce the need for costly hydrogen compression. The team's results significantly advance the potential for formic acid as a viable hydrogen carrier. In addition, their work has further pushed forward the hydrogen capacity of these carrier systems by demonstrating the utility of their catalyst for dehydrogenating blends of formic acid and methanol.

Fuel Cell Technologies

Minette Ocampo and Paul Matter, pH Matter, LLC

This award recognizes the outstanding work by Dr. Minette Ocampo and Dr. Paul Matter of pH Matter, LLC (a small business in Columbus, Ohio). With their patented technology and support from the DOE Small Business Innovation Research program, they have succeeded in developing a new fuel cell catalyst showing improved durability with the potential to meet the targets of the Million Mile Fuel Cell Truck (M2FCT) consortium. In their work at pH Matter, these researchers developed a new catalyst with a carbon support that greatly improves catalyst durability without harming performance or increasing cost. 

Technology Acceleration

Daniel Leighton, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This award recognizes Daniel Leighton of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for outstanding leadership in incorporating hydrogen and fuel cell technologies into the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) platform. Leighton is leading the megawatt-scale hydrogen system capability buildout at NREL's Flatirons campus, which will support H2@Scale goals by enabling integrated systems research and development, including demonstrating grid services, energy storage, renewable hydrogen production, and innovative end use applications. Leighton has demonstrated exceptional planning, due diligence, and communication to successfully navigate and mitigate challenging supply chain issues to advance the integration and scaling of hydrogen energy systems.  

Technology Acceleration—Safety, Codes and Standards

Ethan Hecht, Sandia National Laboratories

This award recognizes Dr. Ethan Hecht of Sandia National Laboratories for outstanding contribution to the development of science-based codes and standards through the validation of liquid hydrogen release behavior. In his work at Sandia and through his contributions to the code community, Hecht's experimental efforts over the past several years have enabled the reduction of liquid hydrogen separation distances in the National Fire Protection Association’s “Hydrogen Technologies Code,” known as NFPA 2. His work in promoting safety and minimizing risk has enabled the decrease in hydrogen fueling station footprint and cost, facilitating the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and laying the framework for the safe deployment of hydrogen technologies at scale.