Manchin Announces $20.5M for West Virginia University Research Corporation Projects, New Partnership to Help Grow Hydrogen Industry

March 14, 2024

 Washington, DC – Today, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced a total of $13,800,000 in funding through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office for two projects at West Virginia University (WVU) Research Corporation to research methods to reduce the cost of producing hydrogen and to grow the domestic hydrogen supply chain. HighT-Tech LLC, in partnership with the WVU Research Corporation, will also receive $6,700,000 in funding to develop a continuous manufacturing process for solid oxide electrolyzer cells. This funding is made possible by Chairman Manchin’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

“West Virginia University Research Corporation has helped the Mountain State stay on the leading edge of developing new and advanced energy technologies for decades. Now, as West Virginia’s very own Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub begins to take shape, WVU Research Corporation will jumpstart this hydrogen industry to the next level and ensure West Virginia remains America’s energy powerhouse,” saidChairman Manchin.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included the funding for West Virginia’s Hydrogen Hub, $1 billion for research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) activities to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen produced via electrolysis and $500 million for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of improved processes and technologies for manufacturing and recycling clean hydrogen systems and materials. In addition, Chairman Manchin’s Inflation Reduction Act, created the first ever Hydrogen Production Tax Credit to promote the development of a domestic hydrogen industry.

Project Details:

  • $9,300,000 – West Virginia University Research Corporation. This project will develop a microwave-assisted heating process for continuous sintering of solid oxide electrolyzer cells. The project aims to decrease processing time and save energy compared to conventional sintering technologies, resulting in lower manufactured capital costs that support DOE's cost targets. 
  • $4,500,000 – West Virginia University Research Corporation. This project will increase the technology readiness level of proton-conducting solid oxide electrolyzer systems by simultaneously addressing the major fundamental barriers to higher-performance cells while increasing cell size and manufacturing scalability. The state-of-the-art will be extended to larger active area cells and stacks via scalable manufacturing processes. This project will conclude with independent stack testing and validation at national Labs.
  • $6,700,000 – HighT-Tech LLC with partners West Virginia University Research Corporation and the University of Maryland: College Park. This project will apply an ultrafast high-temperature sintering technology to develop a continuous manufacturing process for solid oxide electrolyzer cells. The novel sintering technology enables precise and programmable temperature profiles to control the compositions, interfaces, and structures within the electrolyzer cells. This development can potentially reduce or eliminate the bottlenecks associated with the conventional long-duration thermal processing step in current manufacturing of solid oxide electrolyzer cells. 

To learn more from the U.S. Department of Energy, click here.