Recommendations from National Research Council Review of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Research Program, Phase 2
MAJOR CROSSCUTTING ISSUES
Strategic Planning and Decision Making
Recommendation [2-1]. 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.
Recommendation [2-2]. 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.
Recommendation [2-3]. 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.
Recommendation [2-4]. 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.
Recommendation [2-5]. 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 [2-6]. The Partnership should evaluate the potential for analyzing and predicting market responses to the vehicle technologies and fuels that 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.
Recommendation [2-7]. 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 priority for expansion should go to (1) the vehicle and (2) the fuel distribution system.
Recommendation [2-8]. 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 [2-9]. 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 [2-10]. 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 [2-11]. 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 [2-12]. 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.
Recommendation [2-13]. 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 to at least 2015.
Recommendation [2-14]. 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
Recommendation [2-15]. DOE should conduct a systematic assessment of the success (or failure) of all its SBIR/STTR-funded companies rather than selected case studies.
Recommendation [2-16]. The Partnership should seek ways beyond the SBIR and STTR programs to improve communications between it and the entrepreneurial community.
Advanced Combustion, Emissions Control, and Hydrocarbon Fuels
Recommendation [3-1]. The Partnership should formulate and implement a clear set of criteria to identify and provide support to ICE combustion and emission
control projects that are precompetitive and show potential for improvements well beyond those currently being developed by industry.
Recommendation [3-2]. DOE should actively encourage collaborations among the national laboratories, industry, and academia to more effectively direct research efforts to areas where enhanced fundamental understanding is most needed.
Recommendation [3-3]. The Partnership should investigate the impact on emissions of combustion mode switching and transient operation with LTC.
Recommendation [3-4]. The Partnership should perform a detailed analysis of the potential improvement in efficiency and the cost-effectiveness of the exhaust gas heat recovery effort and make a go/no-go decision about this work.
Recommendation [3-5]. The Partnership should conduct sensitivity analyses on key fuel cell targets to determine the trade-offs and tolerances in engineering specifications allowable while still meeting fuel cell vehicle engineering requirements.
Recommendation [3-6]. The Partnership should reassess the current allocation of funding within the fuel cell program and reallocate it as appropriate, in order to prioritize and emphasize the R&D that addresses the most critical barriers. In particular, the Partnership should give membranes, catalysts, electrodes, and modes of operation the highest priority. In particular, it should also
Place greater emphasis on science and engineering at the cell level and, from a systems perspective, on integration and subcomponent interactions;
Reduce research on carbon-based supported catalysts in favor of developing carbon-free electrocatalysts;
Ensure that BES funding of membranes, catalysts, and electrodes remains a high priority of the program; and
Apply go/no-go decision making to stationary fuel cell system initiatives that are not directly related to transportation technologies.
Onboard Hydrogen Storage
Recommendation [3-7]. The hydrogen storage program should continue to be supported by the Partnership at a high level since finding a suitable storage material is critical to fulfillment of the vision for the hydrogen economy. Both basic and applied research should be conducted.
Recommendation [3-8]. The Partnership should rebalance the R&D program for hydrogen storage to shift resources to the more promising approaches as knowledge is gained. The new systems engineering center of excellence should look at all of the system requirements simultaneously, not just the system weight percent storage goal, and guide this rebalancing.
Recommendation [3-9]. In the event that no onboard hydrogen systems are found that are projected to meet targets, the Partnership should perform appropriate studies to determine the risks and consequences of relying on pressurized hydrogen storage. They should include production and delivery issues as well as effects on vehicle performance, safety, and costs.
Recommendation [3-10]. The Partnership should pursue research leading to lower costs for high-quality carbon fibers and bonding materials that would allow higher operating temperatures for compressed hydrogen gas storage.
Recommendation [3-11]. The Partnership should maintain a strong basic research activity on hydrogen storage. New hydrogen storage concepts should continue to be supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
Electrochemical Energy Storage
Recommendation [3-12]. The Partnership should conduct a thorough analysis of the cost of the Li-ion battery for each application; hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), PHEVs, battery electric vehicles (EVs), and hydrogen-fueled fuel cell HEVs. The analysis should re-examine the initial assumptions, including those for both market forces and technical issues, and refine them based on recent materials and process costs. It should also determine the effect of increasing production rates for the different systems under development.
Recommendation [3-13]. The Partnership should significantly intensify its efforts to develop high-energy batteries, particularly newer, higher specific energy electrochemical systems within the long-term battery research subactivity and in close coordination with BES. High-energy batteries provide the surest way to successful batteries for PHEVs.
Recommendation [3-14]. The Partnership should move forward aggressively with completing and executing its R&D plan for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Electric Propulsion, Electrical Systems, and Power Electronics
Recommendation [3-15]. The Partnership should conduct a meta-analysis and develop quantitative models to identify fundamental geometric limitations that
ultimately set bounds on and lead to the realization of the size, mass, and cost of power converters and electric propulsion systems in relation to the physical properties of materials and processes such as dielectric strength, magnetic saturation, thermal conductivity, etc. This will allow the various ongoing and future efforts to be benchmarked against the theoretical boundaries of what is possible and enable the establishment of appropriate directions in research goals.
Recommendation [3-16]. In general, the Partnership should focus on the projects that address specific performance and cost goals of the program on the basis of the results of the meta-analysis recommended above. Specifically, it should: (1) intensify packaging efforts; (2) commit additional resources to high-temperature electronics, including wide band-gap semiconductor devices such as SiC; and (3) redirect research on higher-speed electrical machines to improve torque density.
Recommendation [3-17]. Based on the goal of 50 percent weight reduction as a critical goal and the near certainty that some (probably significant) cost penalty will be associated with it, the Partnership should develop a materials cost model (even if only an approximation) that can be used in a total systems model to spread this penalty in an optimal way across other vehicle components.
Recommendation [3-18]. The materials research funding should largely be redistributed to areas of higher potential payoff, such as high-energy batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen storage, and infrastructure issues. However, materials research for projects that show a high potential for enabling near-term, low-cost mass reduction should continue to be funded.
HYDROGEN PRODUCTION, DELIVERY, AND DISPENSING
Hydrogen Fuel Pathways
Recommendation [4-1]. DOE should continue its studies of the transition to hydrogen, extending them to 2030-2035, a transition period during which the number of hydrogen vehicles in use could increase rapidly and use the results of these studies as a basis for evaluating the potential roles of different transitional supplies of hydrogen fuel as demand increases substantially, including both forecourt production at the fueling station and centralized production using the most cost-effective means of distributing the hydrogen.
Recommendation [4-2]. DOE should conduct a systematic review of the CCS program as it affects the schedule for and program assumptions about hydrogen production from coal. This review should identify indicators of incipient program slippage and, through systems analysis, the program consequences of possible delays, leading to recommendations for management actions that would compensate for these delays.
Recommendation [4-3]. Like the hydrogen production from coal option, the Hydrogen, Fuel Cell and Infrastructure Technology (HFCIT) program should actively employ the liaison mechanisms put in place since the Phase 1 review. However, the exploratory nature of the programs for nuclear production suggests that, unlike the coal option, a detailed systems analysis of schedule delays would be premature at this time. Instead, systems analyses should focus on the complex interactions among program components, especially between the research elements of the nuclear and chemical processes, to ensure that technical progress in each distinct area leads ultimately to a practical system.
Recommendation [4-4]. The DOE should continue to promote electrolysis that uses renewable power integrated with electrolysis systems and to support analyses and demonstrations. High-temperature electrolysis activities within the Office of Nuclear Energy should be closely monitored.
Recommendation [4-5]. The Partnership should increase funding for electrolysis programs to advance the technology, demonstrations, and systems integration.
Recommendation [4-6]. Basic Energy Sciences should support, as appropriate, fundamental research in the area of catalysts, membranes, coatings, and new concepts.
Recommendation [4-7]. DOE should undertake a systems study to determine how best to use wind power–electrolysis combinations to generate hydrogen, considering overall cost and efficiency.
Recommendation [4-8]. The committee recommends that DOE projections of future hydrogen production for hydrogen-powered vehicles include scenarios in which the timetable for commercial quantities of these fuels is delayed, perhaps by as much as a decade.
Recommendation [4-9]. DOE should give priority to completing process development on biomass gasification, including any needed demonstration projects.
Recommendation [4-10]. DOE should undertake a systems study to assess the relative importance of barriers to biomass production, availability, transportation, and conversion to hydrogen; to identify the areas that are most important to commercial viability; and to give them priority. This study should address technical barriers already identified, including impact on the environment, and help define policies for land and water use and government-sponsored commercial incentives that would stimulate commercial expansion of the biomass options.
Recommendation [4-11]. DOE should involve the energy partners in all biomass programs related to conversion to hydrogen or hydrogen carriers as quickly as possible.
Recommendation [4-12]. Given the large number of potential ways of using biomass to supply hydrogen, DOE should identify the most promising approaches so it can focus on options that could have the greatest impact on hydrogen supply.
Recommendation [4-13]. DOE should put more emphasis on the space requirements for forecourt hydrogen generation by studying ways to minimize these requirements.
Hydrogen Delivery, Dispensing, and Transition Supply
Recommendation [4-14]. DOE should increase funding for the delivery and dispensing program to meet the market transition and sustained market penetration time frames. If DOE concludes that a funding increase is not feasible, the program should be focused on the pipeline, liquefaction, and compression programs, where a successful if only incremental short-term impact could be significant for the market transition period.
Recommendation [4-15]. DOE should, with the guidance of an independent outside committee, evaluate the achievability of the program’s 2012 delivery and dispensing cost goal, $1.00/kg H2, particularly with 700 bar (10,000 psi) gas dispensing.
Recommendation [4-16]. DOE should consider supporting advanced systems engineering, integration, and demonstrations for home-based refueling systems, which should bring substantial learning value for such systems. This program should include careful consideration of operation and maintenance procedures that home owners are willing and able to perform.