IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
June 23, 2021
Mr. Heinrich introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
To require the Secretary of Energy to establish a research, development, demonstration, and deployment program to improve the efficiency, increase the durability, and reduce the cost of producing hydrogen using electrolyzers, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act of 2021.
The purposes of this Act are—
to enhance the leadership role of the United States in the widespread use of renewable energy and clean energy technologies;
to reduce greenhouse emissions in the United States by increasing the supply of economical hydrogen for use in transportation, industrial, and power-generation applications;
to support existing electrolyzer research, development, and demonstration efforts of the Department, including the H2NEW consortium of National Laboratories and the hydrogen and fuel cell community, which was established by the Office of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies of the Department and focuses on making large-scale electrolyzers more durable, efficient, and affordable; and
to promote job creation in the United States through the manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies, including through the manufacturing of electrolyzers and associated systems.
Hydrogen electrolysis research, development, demonstration, and deployment program
The term Department means the Department of Energy.
The term electrolysis means a process that uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
The term electrolyzer means a system that produces hydrogen using electrolysis.
The term eligible entity means—
an institution of higher education;
a nongovernmental organization;
a National Laboratory;
a federally recognized Tribal government or Tribal organization;
a private entity; and
a partnership or consortium of 2 or more entities described in subparagraphs (A) through (E).
Institution of higher education
The term institution of higher education has the meaning given the term in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a)).
The term National Laboratory has the meaning given the term in section 2 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15801).
The term program means the program established under subsection (b).
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.
Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish a research, development, demonstration, and deployment program to improve the efficiency, increase the durability, and reduce the cost of producing hydrogen using electrolyzers.
In establishing and carrying out the program, the Secretary shall—
coordinate activities carried out under this section with—
activities carried out under other relevant programs of the Department, including activities carried out by the National Laboratories; and
activities carried out by other relevant Federal agencies;
effectively manage crosscutting research priorities across relevant programs of the Department, including programs carried out by the National Laboratories; and
coordinate with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies to ensure the effective management of crosscutting research priorities shared by the Department and those agencies.
In carrying out the program, the Secretary shall collaborate with—
the National Laboratories;
other relevant Federal agencies;
relevant State agencies;
institutions of higher education; and
international bodies with relevant scientific and technical expertise.
The goal of the program is to reduce the cost of hydrogen produced using electrolyzers to less than $2 per kilogram of hydrogen by 2026.
The program shall have a duration of 5 years.
The program shall focus on research relating to, and the development, demonstration, and deployment of—
low-temperature electrolyzers, including liquid-alkaline electrolyzers, membrane-based electrolyzers, and other advanced electrolyzers, capable of converting intermittent sources of electric power to hydrogen with enhanced efficiency and durability;
high-temperature electrolyzers that combine electricity and heat to improve the efficiency of hydrogen production;
advanced reversible fuel cells that combine the functionality of an electrolyzer and a fuel cell;
new highly active, selective, and durable electrolyzer catalysts and electro-catalysts that—
greatly reduce or eliminate the need for platinum group metals; and
enable electrolysis of complex mixtures with impurities, including seawater;
modular electrolyzers for distributed energy systems and the bulk-power system (as defined in section 215(a) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 824o(a)));
low-cost membranes or electrolytes and separation materials that are durable in the presence of impurities or seawater;
improved component design and material integration, including with respect to electrodes, porous transport layers and bipolar plates, and balance-of-system components, to allow for scale-up and domestic manufacturing of electrolyzers at a high volume;
hydrogen storage technologies;
technologies that integrate hydrogen production with—
hydrogen compression and drying technologies;
hydrogen storage; and
transportation or stationary systems; and
integrated systems that combine hydrogen production with renewable power generation technologies, including hybrid systems with hydrogen storage.
Grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, and demonstration projects
In carrying out the program, the Secretary shall award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities for projects that the Secretary determines would provide the greatest progress toward achieving the goal of the program described in subsection (e).
Contracts and cooperative agreements
In carrying out the program, the Secretary may enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with eligible entities and Federal agencies for projects that the Secretary determines would further the purpose of the program described in subsection (b).
In supporting technologies developed under the program, the Secretary shall fund demonstration projects—
to demonstrate technologies that produce hydrogen using electrolysis; and
to validate information on the cost, efficiency, durability, and feasibility of commercial deployment of the technologies described in subparagraph (A).
An eligible entity desiring to receive a grant under paragraph (1), to enter into a contract or cooperative agreement under paragraph (2), or to receive funding for a demonstration project under paragraph (3) shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.
In awarding grants, entering into contracts and cooperative agreements, and funding demonstration projects under this section, the Secretary shall require cost sharing in accordance with section 988 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 16352).
The Secretary shall submit to Congress 2 reports describing, as of the date of the applicable report—
the activities carried out by the Secretary under this section; and
any progress made toward achieving the goal of the program described in subsection (e).
Timing of submissions
The Secretary shall submit the reports described in paragraph (1) by—
in the case of the first report, not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act; and
in the case of the second report, not later than 6 years after that date of enactment.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the program $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2022 through 2026, to remain available until expended.