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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report 2 Major Crosscutting Issues This chapter addresses the main crosscutting issues that the committee identified in its review of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. Some of these issues deal with the broader context affecting the successful adoption into the marketplace of the technologies under development. The committee recommendations are intended to help the Partnership to progress more rapidly and increase its chances of success. Specific technical areas are discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. STRATEGIC PLANNING AND DECISION MAKING Background The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership is an R&D program that focuses on critical transportation technology and fuels challenges, which, if successfully met, could significantly lower U.S. petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. It is a major program, funded and managed by the federal government (DOE), three U.S. auto companies, and five petroleum companies. The individual technical teams work primarily at the vehicle component level and on the production, distribution, and delivery of hydrogen. To these are added a vehicle systems analysis technical team and a fuel pathway integration technical team (see Figure 1-1). This organizational structure recognizes the need for project activities that focus on individual technical issues, as well as on the characteristics of the integrated vehicle system and the total fuel system. In addition, there is a broader strategic perspective, which the Executive Steering Group provides. The system integration and performance issues require a systems approach at several levels, necessitating a variety of systems analysis tools.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Several such tools are now available to the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. The applicability of each tool is summarized in Figure 2-1. Some of them have been developed, at least in part, by the Partnership and some have been developed outside. This set of systems analysis tools is now providing useful technical capabilities at the vehicle and fuel system levels. Increasingly, it is also providing capabilities at the implementation, impact, and policy levels. The Phase 1 report reviewed the status of the available analysis tools and how they were then being used. The committee that wrote that report made recommendations in three areas: Continuing broad assessments to guide future research priorities and national transportation energy policy. Developing and using models to better understand consumer behavior during market transitions to new vehicle technologies and fuels. FIGURE 2-1 Models and analysis type matrix. DTI, Directed Technologies, Inc.; EEA, Energy & Environmental Analysis, Inc.; GREET, Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation; HyDive, Hydrogen Dynamic Infrastructure and Vehicle Evolution; HyDRA, Hydrogen Demand and Resource Analysis; HyDS, Hydrogen Deployment System; HyTrans, Hydrogen Transition; H2A, Hydrogen Technology Analysis; MARKAL, Market Analysis; NEMS, National Energy Modeling System; NREL, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; PSAT, Powertrain Systems Analysis Toolkit. SOURCE: F. Joseck and L. Slezak, DOE, Systems Analysis Effort, Presentation to the committee on April 25, 2007.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Optimizing the systems analysis capabilities for the program management process. Setting Goals, Targets, and Budgets The overall goals and organizational structure of the Partnership were described in the introduction to this report. Detailed goals, milestones, and responsibilities can be found in the Partnership Plan (DOE, 2006). As was noted in the plan, the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership is not a legal entity, and the so-called “partners” do not have the responsibilities or rights of legal partners. Rather, the words “partnership” and “partners” are used in an informal sense to denote participants working together toward the stated goals of the group. Consequently, funding of the various activities that support the Partnership Plan goals and targets comes from the individual partners—namely, government and industry. The federal government contribution is provided by DOE and largely managed by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) through its FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies (FCVT) program and its Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies (HFCIT) program, which have unique as well as shared responsibilities for various program activities that support Partnership goals (see Appendix A for the EERE organization chart). The individual companies fund activities that support not only overall Partnership goals but also their business and company requirements for commercializing the technology. The decision when and what to commercialize is left entirely to the individual company partners and is of necessity not transparent to the public owing to the competitive nature of the industry. DOE supports the Partnership goals and targets via the DOE budget process. DOE has done a commendable job of gathering inputs from FCVT, HFCIT, and other DOE headquarters offices and laboratories and of creating an overall program plan, budget, and schedule that are aligned with the Partnership’s goals and targets, including cost. This bottom-up approach is the first step in the federal budget process, and approval through the congressional appropriations process then allows DOE to fund activities designed to meet the technical and cost goals and milestones of the Partnership. New initiatives may arise as a consequence of high-level directives or as a result of technical advances or roadblocks. The Partnership is able to accommodate these efficiently since the DOE participants contribute to defining these initiatives as part of the overall budget process. As pointed out in the Phase 1 report, congressionally directed funding, when it occurs, has been detrimental in that it diverts funds from activities that are critical to the goals and milestones of the Partnership (NRC, 2005). The original structure of the Partnership was appropriate given the state of the technology at the time. A broadly based program was established that supported both nearer- and longer-term approaches to reducing petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Hydrogen and fuel cell technology were
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report the main, though not the sole, foci of the Partnership. Since its inception, good progress has been made, much learning has taken place, and new opportunities have become apparent (see Chapters 3 and 4). Now, it is appropriate to reexamine the Partnership’s overall structure and balance. As noted above, systems analysis and simulation tools have been developed that can now be used to facilitate the planning process. Program Assessment Methodology The members of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership should be commended for the progress that they have made in developing modeling tools and in beginning to apply them to various program elements. To date, this capability has lagged the overall technical program development and has been underutilized—that is, used for the most part only when requested by the various technical teams. There is no lack of technical review of the individual program elements, but what is missing is analysis of their quantitative impact on the overall goals of reducing petroleum use and air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Tools for estimating this are being worked on; one example is the Macro System Model (MSM), which is scheduled for completion in 2008. This capability is critical to gaining a realistic assessment of the impact of various technology options and should be used extensively to validate or modify the program structure. A recent series of reports by the NRC Committee on Prospective Benefits of DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy R&D Programs delineates an approach that employs decision analysis, panels of independent experts, technical risk and market risk, and takes into account DOE’s role in technology development vis-à-vis that of the private sector. This approach is one way to make more realistic assessments of the potential impacts of technology development programs (NRC, 2005; 2007). Independent review of the analyses undertaken by DOE is critical to developing credible estimates of potential benefits. Such independent external panels could provide input to program managers and strategic planners. Recommendation. DOE should accelerate the development and validation of modeling tools that can be used to assess the roles of various propulsion system and vehicle technologies and fuels, and utilize them to determine the impact of the various opportunities on the overall Partnership goals of reducing petroleum use and air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Sensitivity analysis, from worst case to optimistic scenarios, should be performed to assess these impacts. Models, input data, and assumptions should be independently reviewed in order to validate and refine the models and lend credibility to the conclusions derived from them.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Program Management A program of this scope requires effective decision-making and strategic planning processes to ensure that its objectives are appropriately focused and that good progress is being made. Program management requires a variety of system analysis tools to accomplish this, and during the 14 years of the two programs, several such tools have been developed (see Figure 2-1). The Partnership’s activities need well-structured technical systems analysis assessments to provide detailed program management guidance. Increasingly, the vehicle performance model Powertrain Systems Analysis Toolkit (PSAT) and vehicle cost models are being used to do this. In fact, the continuing development of the PSAT, now centered at DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory, has brought it to state-of-the-art status, and PSAT is used increasingly within the automotive industry and in R&D organizations. While several technology trade-off studies have been carried out, and such Partnership activity is continuing, in the committee’s judgment these systems analysis models need to be used in a more ongoing, more structured way, as an essential component of overall program management. This type of major component and overall technical and cost analysis needs to be better integrated with the activities of the various technical teams to assess progress, review targets and goals, evaluate trade-offs, set priorities, and provide the information for go/no-go decisions. As noted in the preceding recommendation, independent review and validation of models is critical to the credibility of the conclusions derived from them. Recommendation. The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership should use its technical and cost systems analysis capabilities as an essential component in program management to assess progress in meeting technical and cost targets, to examine the impact of not meeting those targets, to adjust program priorities, and to make go/no-go decisions. Strategic Planning The original FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership started with a presidential commitment to request $1.7 billion over 5 years (FY04 to FY08). An important question for the Partnership’s Executive Steering Group is how the Partnership should evolve as it continues to address the long-term goals related to reducing petroleum consumption, improving the nation’s energy security, and achieving large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Partnership’s current implementation plan for key program areas, especially the development of fuel cells and hydrogen production and distribution technologies, already has key decision points between now and 2015, when it is anticipated that decisions about the commercialization of hydrogen-based technologies should start to be made. Thus a continuation of the Partnership is anticipated. Given the rising importance now being given to the transportation sector’s energy consumption and environmental
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report impacts, the committee believes it is appropriate, even essential, for the Executive Steering Committee to develop a strategic plan for the next phase of our nation’s transportation technology development efforts. In the committee’s judgment, responding effectively to the two key issues the U.S. transportation system is facing—energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions—will require a wide range of new and improved propulsion system and vehicle technologies and new fuels. This future mix may well include fuel cells with hydrogen as a major energy carrier. It may also connect transportation to our electricity grid through the development of advanced battery technology for use in plug-in hybrids. It will also include much improved versions of our current ICEs and transmissions, substantial vehicle weight reduction and some vehicle size reduction, in conventionally configured vehicles and in hybrids. Biofuels will be contributing also, as will liquid transportation fuels obtained from oil sands, heavy oil, oil shale, coal, and natural gas. These new and improved vehicle and fuels technologies will require substantial coordinated R&D to efficiently prepare them for commercial deployment. Some will require basic and applied science research to overcome technology hurdles; others will require innovations to allow using these various forms of energy in transportation much more effectively. It is, therefore, timely and important that the Partnership’s leadership develop a strategic plan for the next phase and a long-term vision of the nation’s collaborative vehicle and fuels technology R&D program, with appropriate industry partners. Given the importance of the energy issues the U.S. transportation system now faces, the Executive Steering Group should examine critically and broadly all potentially promising nearer- and longer-term options for reducing petroleum and energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in order to develop a balanced program to achieve the short-term goals and long-term vision. This strategic review should be done in the context of other ongoing domestic and international activities in vehicle and fuel technologies. Recommendation. The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership’s Executive Steering Group should establish a high-level planning group to develop a strategic plan appropriate for the next phase of the nation’s collaborative vehicle and fuels technology R&D program. Alternatives to Hydrogen Since the committee’s Phase 1 evaluation of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, interest in vehicle propulsion system options that could use energy from the electric grid has risen sharply. The primary technology—the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)—would use advanced batteries with substantial energy storage capacity so that the vehicle would have an all-electric range of 20-40 miles or otherwise use wall-plug electricity to replace much of the onboard fuel consumption. It should be noted that for a battery of sufficient size, recharg-
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report ing times are generally long; thus recharging is often thought of as occurring overnight. A benefit of this is better power plant utilization and lower electricity cost. This concept would solve the limited range of all-electric vehicles by incorporating a gasoline ICE and a generator so that as the battery runs down the engine can power the vehicle and the battery can be recharged by the engine and regeneratively by braking. The maximum engine power and electric motor power in such a configuration are usually comparable in magnitude. This technology offers a way to share the energy used in transportation between a liquid fuel and electricity. The PHEV concepts currently being proposed roughly halve a vehicle’s consumption of liquid fuel (gasoline, diesel, or a biofuel such as ethanol) per mile (Kromer and Heywood, 2007). Once it is widely deployed and used, this technology would significantly reduce the U.S. light-duty vehicle fleet’s consumption of petroleum-derived fuels (gasoline and diesel). The overall energy consumption per mile for a PHEV with electricity produced mainly from coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy and for that of a gasolinefueled HEV are comparable, since engine efficiencies and system-average electricity-generating efficiencies are comparable (Kromer and Heywood, 2007). The GHG emission impacts are also comparable unless low-carbon-emitting electricity generation technologies are utilized. Given that the U.S. electric grid system is projected to continue to be dominated by coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants, reduced carbon emissions would require effective carbon capture and sequestration technologies to be widespread. The major challenges to the successful development of PHEVs are battery performance and durability along with overall cost. Also, assessing the impact of a growing demand on the electricity grid by the transportation sector and for recharging capabilities is in its early stages. The Partnership has initiated programs directed toward PHEV development: advanced batteries, power electronics, electric motors, and systems simulation and testing in FY07 and FY08. About 40 percent of the HEV funding is being allocated to these PHEV technologies, with about two-thirds of that focused on advanced batteries. These activities are reviewed more fully later in this report. It is now apparent that PHEVs running on electricity and liquid hydrocarbons (which might be augmented by biofuels) is a plausible parallel approach to fuel cell propulsion system technology and hydrogen for achieving major reductions in U.S. petroleum use and GHG emissions. This was not clear at the time the committee last evaluated the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership during Phase 1. Because PHEVs can be considered as both complementing and competing with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, any comparison between PHEVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles must be made with the same initial assumptions. In order for the fuel cell vehicle to meet the goal of a 300-mile range, vehicle structural weight must be reduced by 50 percent (see discussion in Chapter 3, section Structural Materials). The same vehicle structural weight must be assumed when comparing the cost or performance of PHEVs and fuel cell vehicles. Accordingly, the
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Partnership should consider more fully how best to pursue this parallel technology and fuel. Recommendation. The Partnership management should assess how best to pursue PHEV technology within the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership program and determine the cost and performance merits relative to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles using the same vehicle structural weight for both systems. Role of the Federal Government and Industry The Partnership’s ultimate goal is to reduce the dependence of the nation’s personal transportation system on imported oil and minimize harmful vehicle emissions, without sacrificing freedom of mobility and freedom of vehicle choice (DOE, 2006). Meeting the technical and cost targets of the largely DOE-funded program does not guarantee that technologies will be adopted by the automobile manufacturers and energy companies. Because all of these activities are precompetitive and the industrial partners have yet to commercialize technology from the Partnership, it is difficult to assess its ultimate true impact, which may not be realized in the broadest sense for many decades. However, the mere fact that the industry is actively engaged in setting goals and targets suggests that its needs are being addressed and there is good potential for technology transfer. The committee that wrote the Phase 1 report recommended (Recommendation 2-14, Appendix D) that the Partnership and USCAR leadership assess the process for technology transfer and make it as effective as possible. While DOE has done a good job of pursuing this objective by promoting technology transfer mechanisms and workshops, such transfer is ultimately the responsibility and choice of industry. The committee understands that these decisions are made in a closed and competitive environment, but industry should cooperate with the DOE as much as possible to establish a database of technology transfer case histories, including those of the earlier PNGV program. This would serve to provide useful models for improving this and any potential future government/industry partnerships. An important role of the federal government is to invest in high-risk, highpayoff activities that are unlikely to be supported by industry. The committee commends DOE for requesting increased support for the Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program and for including the program in its Annual Hydrogen Merit Review in 2007. The BES program has been responsive to the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership by focusing on critical issues and materials that are the building blocks of technology platforms envisioned by the Partnership. It is here, in the BES program, where a major breakthrough might occur that could dramatically alter the course or outcome of the Partnership.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership in the Marketplace and Policy Context It is industry’s responsibility to commercialize the technologies that will be needed to achieve the goals of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. If there is not a sound business case to do so, it is unlikely that this will occur even if technical and cost targets are met. There are many factors, other than the current state of technology development, that could influence whether or not these technologies are introduced and in what time frame. Market interventions such as cap-and-trade programs, motor fuel taxes, corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, fees and rebates imposed at time of vehicle purchase, and subsidies for specific technologies and fuels could influence the introduction of new technologies and fuels, especially the transition to a hydrogen economy and its timing. These were discussed in detail in the Phase 1 report. Recommendation 2-15 (Appendix D) asked DOE to analyze the implications of alternative market interventions for the technical goals of the Partnership and to use that analysis in its policy deliberations. In its response of April 2, 2007, to the recommendations in the Phase 1 report, DOE indicated that a joint draft report is being developed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), Analysis of Market-Based Approaches for Reducing Fuel Consumption, which assesses the benefits from various policy approaches (DOE, 2007, p. 45). While DOE has claimed that this recommendation is not the responsibility of the Partnership, the committee concluded that such policy actions could have a profound impact on program structure and balance and should be included in program planning. To support an assessment of market interventions, a better understanding of the expected market response to new vehicles and fuels at significantly different prices and with significantly different performance and operating characteristics is important. Such modeling and assessment is a challenging task. However, analytical approaches have been proposed by Cook and others that estimate economic value based on vehicle attributes, and these have been shown to work in a number of automotive cases (Cook, 1997; Donndelinger and Cook, 1997). Trade-offs between range and useful passenger space with vehicle value can be estimated with such techniques. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory effort by David Greene and others that builds on Cook’s work could be developed to assist in this task (Greene et al., 2004). The committee believes that initiating efforts in this market response area is important and would prove fruitful. Recommendation. DOE should utilize its modeling capability to assess the impact of market interventions on both the technical goals of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, and their overall potential impact, and use these assessments to inform the R&D planning process. Recommendation. The Partnership should evaluate the potential for analyzing and predicting market responses to the vehicle technologies and fuels that
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report may result from Partnership efforts to better inform its assessments of the new technologies that are likely to be needed to meet the nation’s goal of reducing petroleum consumption and greenhouse gases. SAFETY Overview While an exemplary hydrogen safety record will not ensure the success of the fuel cell and hydrogen technologies under development by the Partnership and the eventual transition to a hydrogen economy, a poor safety record may delay or inhibit the widespread use of hydrogen. The goals and objectives of the broad safety portion of the Partnership are to develop practices and procedures that will ensure safety in the operation, handling, and use of hydrogen and hydrogen systems for all DOE-funded projects and to implement these practices and lessons learned to promote the safe use of hydrogen. The goals and objectives of the narrower codes and standards portion of the program are as follows: To perform the underlying research to enable codes and standards to be developed for the safe use of hydrogen in all applications and To facilitate the development and harmonization of domestic and international codes and standards. Activities under the umbrella “safety, codes and standards (SCS)” have been funded at $4 million to $5 million or so per year over the last few years—well below requested levels. In FY07, SCS received a large increase, to $13.8 million. The codes and standards portion is planned and overseen by the Partnership’s codes and standards technical team (see Figure 1-1). The safety part is administered by DOE headquarters. DOT now has hydrogen safety resources in its own budget ($1.4 million actual in FY07 and $1.4 million requested in FY08). The codes and standards portion of the Partnership, which includes the R&D Roadmap and National Template, aims to gain the support of the many organizations developing vehicle- and component-level safety standards. There is work on fueling station design tools and hydrogen quality standards. There is also work on fast fueling at up to 70 MPa (10,000 psi). “Safety” consists of more than just following a set of codes and standards. It is quantitative and includes system design and methods of mitigating risk. Every component of a system may meet an appropriate code or standard, yet there can still be failures due to external events and system issues. The safety part of the program includes a hydrogen safety panel, Web-based incident reporting and bibliographic databases; a best practices Web site is under development. There is also an extensive program on unintentional releases of
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report hydrogen and on hydrogen behavior, safety sensors, and compatibility of other materials with hydrogen. Responses to Safety Recommendations 2-5 to 2-8 in Phase 1 Report The recommendations discussed in this subsection come from the Phase 1 report (NRC, 2005) and may be found in Appendix D of this report. Recommendation 2-5: Formation of a crosscutting safety technical team. The codes and standards technical team decided not to accept this scope and organizational recommendation. The committee’s suggested step forward is covered in the first paragraph of the next section. Recommendation 2-6: Vehicle standards and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA vehicle safety program was delayed due to funding constraints but is now under way. It is not clear whether NHTSA is fully integrated into the codes and standards technical team since none of its milestones were shown on the roadmap. It is also not clear to the committee whether NHTSA is taking advantage of the hydrogen behavior work being conducted at Sandia, Livermore. Recommendation 2-7: Publication, Openness, and Safety Documents. The incident reporting system and bibliography have been implemented and are being well maintained. The best practices document is under development. NHTSA has special crash investigation teams that could, if so assigned, respond to accidents involving vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas or hydrogen. Recommendation 2-8: Budget and schedule. The FY07 DOE SCS budget increase is a good step forward. The SCS milestone chart should be extended to 2015. (See discussion in the next section.) Discussion and Recommendations for the Phase 2 Review The codes and standards technical team did not accept the Phase 1 recommendation that DOE should form a new technical team to cover all end-to-end safety aspects as well as codes and standards. That is their prerogative. However, the overall safety aspects are still important, and this gap must be filled by DOE, which should assign an organization to head this assignment. The assignment could be viewed as an extension of the existing quantitative risk analysis task, which is currently focused on filling stations and should be adequately funded and extended. The priority for expansion should be (1) the vehicle and (2) the fuel distribution system. Since the United States already produces approximately 25 percent of the hydrogen needed for the conversion of the vehicle fleet to hydrogen, the safety analysis of the production portion of the end-to-end system is
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report the lowest priority (because production has an adequate track record). Onboard liquid hydrogen storage and home refueling should also be included. This analysis should be at a high level and not overly detailed. It could affect some of the technology and pathway choices. Further depth in the risk analysis can be delayed until 2010-2015. The committee notes that there was a substantial increase in the SCS budget beginning in FY07 (to $13.8 million). For the first time the actual budget was near the requested budget. It is important that the SCS budget remain adequate and stable for the coming years. DOE should protect this funding to ensure that the milestones are met. The DOT part of the program is just getting started, is behind schedule, and is grossly underfunded ($1.4 million per year). NHTSA’s Four-Year Plan for Hydrogen, Fuel Cell, and Alternative Fuel Vehicle Safety Research was based on expenditures of $4 million to $5 million per year. The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and other parts of DOT also have important hydrogen safety roles and need to be adequately funded. DOT needs to develop a long-range plan with budget estimates and milestones to 2015. It should be comprehensive and include all relevant administrations and agencies within DOT. These milestones should be integrated into the codes and standards technical team roadmap. It is doubtful that the SCS milestones are consistent with the progress to date and with the delays in getting full funding for the program. The current milestones only extend to 2010, while the rest of the program has been using a 2015 planning horizon. Clearly, a lot of safety-related work will have to be done from 2010 to 2015. While DOT is on the technical team, the team’s milestone chart does not include DOT’s milestones. NHTSA recently initiated its R&D program, and RITA has done an extensive gap analysis for pipelines, distribution trucks, and other DOT regulatory areas. Perhaps RITA and PHMSA should also be included on the technical team. It is unlikely that the necessary SCS work will be completed by 2010. Realistic schedules should be adopted, new work identified, and milestones planned out to 2015, as has been done for other program elements. DOT milestones and its program should be integrated into the milestones and roadmap of the codes and standards technical team. When developing milestones, it is important to consider that developing and finalizing new federal regulations takes 7-10 years (or even longer), and lack of regulation could significantly impede the introduction of hydrogen vehicles into the market. Additional funding for more detailed work should be planned for the out-years. The details of the out-year work will of course depend on what is learned over the next few years. Continuing work is likely to be needed in hydrogen quality, sensors, and risk analysis. Real-world
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report experience should also be factored in and revisions made to various codes and standards, if needed. Possible areas of new work include hydrogen vehicle sensors (and associated standards); thermally activated pressure relief devices (PRDs), which are sensitive to a line or area (rather than to a point); development of a localized fire test and a full-scale vehicle burn test; research on whether to allow insulation to provide fire protection for a short time; special safety considerations for reactive metals such as storage hydrides and structural magnesium; and development of a hydrogen compatibility test at the component or assembly level. It appears that the introduction of some kinds of high-energy lithium ion batteries has been delayed, in part owing to safety concerns, especially under abusive conditions. Since such batteries would benefit the performance of HEVs, PHEVs, and pure EVs as well as hydrogen/fuel cell hybrids, it is important to pay even more attention to battery safety issues, including subsystem- and system-level approaches to protection. The creation of two databases, one on incidents involving hydrogen and one for a hydrogen bibliography, will be useful in promoting safety. The committee encourages DOE to continue to develop, publish, and update the best practices document. Many of the hydrogen vehicle safety components and subsystems (and associated codes and standards) have evolved from analogous components used for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. It is important to collect and analyze CNG safety experience while it is still available. This should include filling station incidents, vehicle failures attributable to such things as tank leaks, tank bursts, PRD failures (failure to open in a fire, as well as inadvertent opening without a fire), and other component failures or leaks. DOE should establish a program to collect and analyze failure data on CNG and hydrogen components, subsystems, vehicles, and fueling stations. These data should be statistically analyzed to assess field reliability and to determine if this level of reliability will be adequate if the majority of U.S. vehicles are fueled with hydrogen. NHTSA data should also be included and analyzed. The committee heard a briefing on hydrogen compatibility (including embrittlement), which is being worked on by Sandia National Laboratories. This is an important area and should be extended to nonstructural materials in the future. DOE should convene a review by outside experts and hydrogen material users to examine the scope of the various materials to be tested, the priority for testing, and the test procedures and conditions. The prioritization should carefully consider the likelihood that a material will be used and not try to cover every last material. At least some of the reviewers should be from the academic community. The Sandia National Laboratories work on unintended hydrogen release has shown great progress with unignited and ignited jets. New work on releases with delayed ignition is just beginning. Such releases can result in explosions with damaging overpressures. It is understood that Sandia will focus on open air
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report releases with and without barriers; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on residential garages; and the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on commercial garages. It is not clear whether some organization has been assigned to study releases in tunnels. The current program has a small program element called “parking certification.” This task is currently limited to hydrogen production from the charging of lead acid batteries. This task should be expanded to include the general topic of parking hydrogen vehicles in buildings (such as residential and commercial parking garages, and repair facilities). Small, medium, and large leaks (such as PRD activation) should be addressed. DOE should accelerate this unintended release and parking structure work so that the data it collects can feed into updates of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), International Code Council (ICC), and other codes and standards. This would also support the work on fueling station footprints (separation distances). Station design parameters (such as reduced on-site storage, reformer turn-down ratios, more frequent delivery) might also allow a smaller station footprint. It would also be useful to document conditions under which hydrogen jets could self-ignite. Four large demonstrations involving the automotive and energy companies are conducted under the technical validation part of the Partnership. For proprietary reasons, the safety plans for these demonstrations are confidential. Safety incident information is also confidential, and only summaries are released. It is important that there be an independent review of these safety plans and field incidents, and that the safety lessons learned be shared with the hydrogen community. Relevant incidents should be added to the incident database. Appropriate Federal Role Work on SCS is an essential federal role. The individual companies and states cannot do it on their own. The manufacturers want and need uniform national (and, hopefully, international) standards so they can market worldwide. The various regulatory agencies (which reside mainly in DOT) need to be adequately funded in order to develop scientifically based standards in a timely fashion. They can then work with international groups to harmonize the standards on a global basis. This is inherently a government function. Recommendations Recommendation. DOE should establish a program to address all end-to-end safety aspects as well as codes and standards. Such a program could be viewed as an extension of the current quantitative risk analysis activity, which is focused on the filling station. This task should be adequately funded and expanded. The
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report priority for expansion should go to (1) the vehicle and (2) the fuel distribution system. Recommendation. The Department of Transportation (DOT), including all relevant entities within DOT, should develop a long-range, comprehensive hydrogen safety plan with budget estimates and milestones to 2015. The milestones developed in this plan should be integrated into the codes and standards technical team milestones and roadmap. Recommendation. The codes and standards technical team should extend the planning horizon in its plan to 2015, integrate the DOT milestones into its own milestones and roadmap, and make the safety and codes and standards milestones consistent with funding levels and progress to date. Recommendation. DOE should establish a program to collect and analyze failure data and field experience including data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on compressed natural gas (CNG) and hydrogen components, subsystems, vehicles, and fueling stations. Recommendation. DOE should convene a review by a panel of independent outside experts of the hydrogen compatibility of materials, prioritize the materials to be tested, taking into account the likelihood of their application, and review test procedures and conditions. Recommendation. DOE should accelerate work on delayed ignition of unintended hydrogen releases, including in parking structures and tunnels, in support of various efforts to develop and revise building codes. TECHNICAL VALIDATION Technical validation activities, also referred to as learning demonstration programs, are very important for validating current component and systems concepts and uncovering previously unknown issues. They are establishing many systems and component engineering parameters for a complete operating hydrogen supply and fuel cell transportation system. In general, the committee notes that These cooperative programs are well designed, Information is being collected from both vehicle and infrastructure components, pooled, and shared, This program is helping to guide the technical teams as well as the systems and modeling efforts and helping to establish appropriate program priorities,
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report There are some indications of a lack of adequate DOE support and balance for the vehicle and infrastructure side of these programs. The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership includes a variety of R&D and technical validation activities for fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen fuel systems. Just under 10 percent of the total FY07 budget for the Partnership is focused on validation activities (however, this drops to under 7 percent in the FY08 budget request), and these are providing extremely valuable information for the overall program. Any advanced technology, no matter how well tested by its developers, will show unanticipated characteristics when placed in the hands of the users. Moreover, all complex technologies require at least alpha and beta prototype versions before a reasonably reliable product is possible. Feedback from actual use is especially important for the Partnership because of the long-term, high-risk research agenda and because public safety must be ensured in the face of highly energetic materials—for example, hydrogen and high-voltage batteries. The committee applauds the Partnership for managing an effective technical validation program, as was recommended in the Phase 1 report. The committee is particularly pleased at the effective communication of findings from the technical validation program via the Web to all Partnership elements and, more broadly, to forums where the public can obtain information as well. In line with the committee’s earlier recommendations, these technical validation efforts have appropriately emphasized safety and communication to first responders. The integration of the learning demonstration findings with the systems analysis effort is also appropriate and in agreement with the Phase 1 report recommendations. Thus the learning demonstration program should continue to be considered an essential component of the Partnership. Rather than attempting to demonstrate that the technologies are commercially ready, the Partnership should continue to collect and analyze the experience of the early adopters of hydrogen vehicles and fuels infrastructure technologies in order to inform the various research programs. Further, having private companies as partners will help disseminate the learning beyond DOE. Recognizing that the learning demonstration program is now in an active stage, the committee recommends several tasks for the DOE to consider as this program unfolds. Recommendation. DOE should continue to disseminate the results of the technical validation activity to supporting organizations outside the Partnership in order to promote widespread innovation and competition. DOE management needs to systematically evaluate the information being generated by each project to determine when the project should be terminated based on its relevance and on the value of the information. On the other hand, DOE management should not prematurely drop support for the overall technical validation and learning demonstrations as their importance cannot be overemphasized. DOE and the Partnership should develop a long-range plan for technology validation that continues until at least 2015.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Recommendation. DOE management should maintain adequate support for technical validation as it is essential to the overall Partnership. This support should be balanced and cover both the vehicles themselves and the fuel infrastructure needed. To achieve the rapid learning that the overall project requires, DOE should also keep the validation activities focused on their primary purpose—the accumulation, analysis, and dissemination of experience from the field. Safety should be stressed throughout the learning demonstration program, because an accident early on could attract publicity out of proportion to its true consequences. BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH NEW VENTURES Start-up ventures have often provided an essential stimulus for large-scale technology transitions. This holds true whether the new venture acts alone or in partnership with established companies. In the latter case, the new venture can bring a fresh approach to the partnership—a technology outside the scope of the incumbent or an innovative business model—while the mainstream industry provides investment capital and channels to markets. Consider the commercial introduction of the personal computer (PC), for example. To move the PC from a hobbyist’s toy into the mainstream market, the early competitors, chiefly Apple and IBM, needed some application that offered compelling value to business users. That application proved to be VisiCalc, the first practical electronic spreadsheet. Despite their capabilities in microelectronics, neither Apple nor IBM was able to conceive such an application. Instead, it came from a start-up Boston company, Software Arts (later renamed VisiCorp). VisiCalc became the key application offered in the Apple II and the IBM PC, and by 1981 the mainstream PC market was fully launched. Similarly, much evidence suggests that entrepreneurs interested in automotive innovation will respond vigorously to clear signals about any potential opportunity. Consider hydrogen technology markets, for example, which have already seen a vigorous response to government signals. When the FreedomCAR program was announced, virtually all hydrogen-related companies saw increases in their share prices. And from 1998 to 2001, signals from the auto industry about imminent introduction of hydrogen-fueled vehicles led to a surge in private and public capital into entrepreneurial companies that offered technologies able to serve this anticipated new market. DOE seeks to stimulate new, technology-based ventures through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. These have been reviewed in depth elsewhere,1 and here we focus only on those aspects relevant to the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership. 1 See NRC, An Assessment of the Small Business Innovation Research Program at the Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press, forthcoming.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Supported at the level of 2.5 percent and 0.3 percent of the DOE research budget, respectively, the SBIR and STTR programs offer significant resources to start-up technology companies—over $100 million per year, DOE-wide, in recent years. This investment is allocated among the DOE programs in approximate proportion to their research budgets. The overall program is administered by the DOE’s Office of Science (SC).2 Much evidence in the form of case studies suggests that the SBIR program can indeed accelerate innovation in ways that serve the goals of the Partnership. These individual case studies are, of course, helpful and should be continued. But by themselves, they cannot provide the kind of systematic insight that leads to improvements in program management because they look only to success and not to the sources of failure. Additional examples of the kinds of management-relevant questions that could be addressed include these: How far in advance of the annual solicitation should the technical topics be announced? How often should these topics, which are currently issued on an annual basis, be changed? Thus, the committee believes that the SBIR/STTR program could make an even greater contribution by allowing a more complete understanding of how the management of the program influences the success rate of the funded companies. Further, contact with the new venture community appears largely limited to the SBIR/STTR programs and contracts with Partnership members or national laboratories. This limited contact might allow the Partnership to overlook many nascent ventures that could add significant value its mission. Expanding the range of contact between Partnership and the entrepreneurial community beyond the SBIR/STTR might capture some of this value. This has been done with apparent success in other DOE programs. Consider, for example, the Industry Growth Forum organized by NREL. This kind of forum could introduce entrepreneurs to the leading automotive and fuel companies and could also provide useful guidance on the most productive means for interaction. Additionally, DOE might consider some form of interaction with organizations that invest in first-stage ventures, both to increase participation in the SBIR/STTR program and to provide further channels for SBIR/STTR grantees. The committee makes two recommendations that would help to accomplish this. 2 More information is available at <http://www.science.doe.gov/sbir/newweb/about_sbir.htm>.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Recommendations Recommendation. DOE should conduct a systematic assessment of the success (or failure) of all its SBIR/STTR-funded companies rather than selected case studies. Recommendation. The Partnership should seek ways beyond the SBIR and STTR programs to improve communications between it and the entrepreneurial community. ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES The Phase 1 report noted the importance of understanding the environmental implications of the full fuel cycle, from source to end use, in a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen, like electricity, is an energy carrier and must be produced using a primary energy source. As discussed in Chapter 4, a number of approaches and primary energy sources could be used to produce hydrogen to fuel vehicles: the reformation of natural gas; the gasification of coal; high-temperature nuclear heat from advanced reactors to drive thermochemical processes; the gasification of biomass; or electricity from the grid or renewable energy sources (such as wind or solar) to electrolyze water to produce hydrogen. Each of these approaches and technologies for producing hydrogen will have different land, water, and air impacts. They will also have different emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs, depending on the extent to which CO2 sequestration is used as part of the fossil-fuel-based processes for producing hydrogen. In addition, as was also pointed out in the Phase 1 report, there could be impacts if hydrogen leaks into the atmosphere throughout the fuel cycle, ranging from impacts on the stratosphere to contributions to global warming (Ananthaswamy, 2003; Derwent, 2003, 2004; Tromp et al., 2003). To understand the impacts across the full fuel cycle of producing, distributing, and using hydrogen, the Phase 1 report recommended that DOE, in collaboration with the EPA, should systematically identify and examine the possible long-term ecological and environmental effects of the large-scale use and production of hydrogen from various energy sources. These direct and indirect effects should include effects on land, water, and the atmosphere. In its response dated April 2, 2007, to the recommendations in the Phase 1 report, DOE concurred with this recommendation (DOE, 2007, p. 23); in fact its SC is developing a fundamental understanding of the processes involved in biogeochemical cycling of atmospheric hydrogen. This knowledge will make it possible to perform a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact of the release of hydrogen to the atmosphere from large-scale use and production. DOE will share the results of the assessment with the EPA and explore collaboration possibilities. The DOE response to the Phase 1 recommendation also contained the following (DOE, 2007, p. 23):
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report The DOE Hydrogen Program is planning a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) in the 2011-2014 timeframe, culminating with a final report in 2014. Conducting the PEIS prior to then would be premature, since R&D is still in progress and the actual technologies to be employed during implementation of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure are not yet determined. During the RD&D timeframe leading up to the PEIS, the Program will be conducting a Strategic Environmental Review (SER). A SER involves the collection and assessment of potential environmental issues arising from and reported by the various R&D projects funded by the Program. A database of these issues will be maintained, both (a) to be a source of information for the PEIS which follows and (b) to identify particular items which might require Program analysis during the R&D phase to better understand their potential impacts if the resulting technologies were implemented in the objective hydrogen infrastructure. The NAS [Phase 1 report] also calls for a study of environmental effects of hydrogen technologies. An FY 2007 solicitation is commissioning a study to respond to this requirement. In 2010 and 2011, a joint study with EPA is planned to complete a comprehensive examination of the effects of hydrogen on the atmosphere. The committee will continue to pursue this subject in future reviews of the Partnership and monitor the progress that is being made on understanding the various environmental impacts that may be associated with the large-scale production and use of hydrogen. REFERENCES Ananthaswamy, A. 2003. Reality bites for the dream of a hydrogen economy. New Scientist, November 15. Cook, H.E. 1997. Product Management: Value, Quality, Cost, Price, Profit and Organization. Amsterdam: Kluwer Academic (formerly Chapman & Hall). Derwent, R. 2003. Climate implications of a hydrogen economy. Berkshire, England: Climate Research, The Meteorology Office. Available on the Web at <http://www.cambrensis.org/hydropresentation.htm>. Derwent, R. 2004. Global warming consequences of a future hydrogen economy. Issues in Environmental Science and Technology. Vol. 20: Transport and the Environment. London, England: Royal Society of Chemistry. Department of Energy (DOE). 2006. Partnership Plan. FreedomCAR & Fuel Partnership. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Available on the Web at <http://www.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/program/fc_fuel_partnership_plan.pdf>. DOE. 2007. Actions and Evidence Report, April 2. Submitted to the National Research Council Committee on Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership, Phase 2, documenting responses to recommendations by DOE to the Phase 1 report by the National Research Council. Donndelinger, J., and H.E. Cook. 1997. Methods for analyzing the value of automobiles. SAE 1997 Transactions, Journal of Passenger Cars 106:1263-1281. Greene, D.L., K.G. Duleep and W. McManus. 2004. Future potential of hybrid and diesel powertrains in the U.S. light-duty vehicle market. ORNL/TM-004/181, Oak Ridge, Tenn.: Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: Second Report Kromer, M., and J.B. Heywood. 2007. Electric Powertrains: Opportunities and Challenges in the U.S. Light-Duty Vehicle Fleet. Report 2007-03-RP. Cambridge, Mass.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Laboratory for Energy and the Environment. Available on the Web at <http://lfee.mit.edu>. National Research Council (NRC). 2005. Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase 1): A First Look Forward. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. NRC. 2007. Prospective Evaluation of Applied Energy Research and Development at DOE (Phase 2). Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press. Tromp, T.K., R.L. Shia, M. Allen, J.M. Eiler, and Y.L. Yung. 2003. Potential environmental impact of a hydrogen economy on the stratosphere. Science 300 (June 13):1740-1742.