Fuel developer OCOchem and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have secured a $2.5 million funding award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance the transportation of clean hydrogen.
The funding is part of a larger initiative by the DOE, totaling $42 million across 22 projects in 14 states, aimed at developing critical technologies for clean hydrogen production, storage, transport, and deployment. Green hydrogen is created when it is made by electrolyzers powered by carbon-free electricity such as wind, solar, hydro or nuclear.
OCOchem plans to use the funding to enhance and upscale its Carbon Flux Electrolyzer, a device used to produce formic acid from recycled carbon dioxide emissions, water, and clean electricity. By building the world’s largest CO2 electrolyzer, the company says it aims to commercialize the technology by scaling and improving its efficiency.
The resulting formic acid can be used as a liquid carrier for clean hydrogen, enabling safe and cost-effective storage and transport at ambient temperature and pressure, OCOchem notes. Meanwhile, PNNL, a DOE national laboratory, is working to scale its technology to develop a hydrogen generator that releases hydrogen from the formic acid.
Through this collaboration, OCOchem and PNNL aim to make clean hydrogen technologies economically viable, scalable, and accessible for widespread adoption. The Richland, Washington-based entities anticipate having their technologies ready for commercial use by early 2025.
“The world needs a better way to make, store and use clean hydrogen as a clean fuel and clean feedstock to decarbonize industries and transportation,” said Todd Brix, CEO and Co-founder of OCOchem. “We’re making a liquid hydrogen carrier that enables us to more safely and more cost-effectively make and distribute clean hydrogen so it can be used in more places by more people. We are helping to create a circular carbon economy that stops the buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere and helps lower the cost of everyday products we consume and use.”
The joint effort builds upon OCOchem and PNNL’s previous partnership, which received funding from a 2020 DOE Technology Commercialization Fund grant.