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The U.S. Department of Energy has issued the following news release announcing that it will distribute $11.2 million in awards for hydrogen research among various labs and universities. Brookhaven is one of six institutions that will receive part of $5.6 million over three years for studies on nanoscale catalysts. The Brookhaven project, led by chemist Jose Rodriguez, will combine the efforts of scientists in the lab's Chemistry Department with advanced instrumentation at Brookhaven's National Synchrotron Light Source and Center for Functional Nanomaterials to better understand and improve the performance of nanocatalysts for a process known as the "water-gas shift reaction." This reaction is a critical step in the processing of pure hydrogen for fuel cells and other industrial applications. Although these catalysts are often studied in lab environments, they actually operate at high temperature and high pressure, which alters their structure and reactivity. This research project aims to apply a suite of powerful research methods that work in the actual reaction environment, or "in situ," to develop a better picture of how several promising nanocatalysts function, and to use this information to develop principles for new, improved catalysts with higher activity at low temperature and good stability. To interview Rodriguez, or for more information on the project, contact Karen McNulty Walsh at (631) 344-8350 or

Energy Dept. Awards $11.2 Million for Hydrogen Research

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $11.2 million in awards for research aimed at overcoming the scientific challenges associated with the production, storage and use of hydrogen.

"This funding will support transformational scientific research addressing major issues underpinning the hydrogen economy: hydrogen storage, essential for transportation; and catalysts, for hydrogen production, storage and use," Under Secretary for Science Dr. Raymond L. Orbach said.

DOE's Office of Science selected 13 projects that will focus on fundamental science in support of hydrogen technologies. Universities and national laboratories in 10 states and Washington, DC will conduct the research.

The projects are part of a department-wide, comprehensive, balanced portfolio of basic and applied research, technology development and demonstration projects aimed at significantly advancing President Bush's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. DOE selected the new projects through a merit-review, competitive solicitation process and plans to fund additional projects in fiscal year 2008.

The projects will address two priority technical areas:

Novel Materials for Hydrogen Storage (7 projects, $5.6 million over three years)

Both the National Academy of Sciences and DOE have identified hydrogen storage as a key technology for the successful implementation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. A broad range of research in hydrogen storage is covered by these projects, including: complex hydrides; nanostructured and novel materials; theory, modeling and simulation; and state-of-the-art analytical and characterization tools to develop novel storage materials and methods.

Nanoscale Catalysts (6 projects, $5.6 million over three years)

Catalysts play a vital role in hydrogen production, storage and use. Specifically, catalysts are needed for producing hydrogen from water or carbon-containing fuels such as coal and biomass, increasing hydrogen storage kinetics and producing electricity at low cost from hydrogen in fuel cells. Research areas include: innovative synthetic techniques; novel characterization techniques; and theory, modeling and simulation of catalytic pathways.

The list of new projects follows.

Novel Hydrogen Storage Materials

  • Oak Ridge national Laboratory, Quantum Tuning of Chemical Reactivity for Storage and Generation of Hydrogen Fuels
  • Rutger University, Novel Theoretical and Experimental Approaches for Understanding and Optimizing Hydrogen-Sorbent Interactions in Metal Organic Framework Materials
  • Stony Brook University, Influence of Pressure on Physical Property of Ammonia Borane and its Re-hydrogenation
  • University of California, Davis, Activation of Hydrogen Under Ambient Conditions by Main Group Molecules
  • Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara, Computational Studies of Hydrogen Interactions with Storage Materials
  • University of Missouri-Columbia, Networks of Boron-Doped Carbon Nanopores for Low-Pressure Reversible Hydrogen Storage
  • Univeristy of Southern Florida, Novel Porous Metal-Organic Frameworks for Hydrogen Storage

Nanoscale Catalysts

  • Argonne National Laboratory, Structure/Composition/Function Relationships in Supported Nanoscale Catalysts for Hydrogen Generation
  • Brookhaven National Laboratory, In-situ Studies of the Active Sites and Mechanism for the Water-Gas-Shift Reaction on Metal/Oxide Nanocatalysts
  • Georgetown University, An in situ Electrode-Potential-Controlled Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Investigation of Sulfur-Poisoning Effect on Platinum Based Mono- and Bi-metallic Nanoscale Electrocatalysts
  • Ohio State University, Investigation of the Nature of Active Sites on Heteroatom-Containing Carbon Nano-Structures for Oxygen Reduction Reaction
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, New Bio-Inspired Molecular Catalysts for Hydrogen Oxidation and Hydrogen Production
  • University of Virginia, Theory-Aided Design of Active and Durable Nanoscale Cathode Catalysts

Additional information about the new awards

The basic hydrogen research program is administered by the department's Office of Basic Energy Sciences in the Office of Science. More information about DOE's Hydrogen Program.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the nation and helps ensure U.S. world leadership across a broad range of scientific disciplines. The Office of Science supports a diverse portfolio of research at more than 300 colleges and universities nationwide, manages 10 world-class national laboratories with unmatched capabilities for solving complex interdisciplinary scientific problems, and builds and operates the world's finest suite of scientific facilities and instruments used annually by more than 19,000 researchers to extend the frontiers of all areas of science.

Media contact: Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806

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