While the Obama Administration and Department of Energy (DOE) have decided to slash the hydrogen research budget by 60-percent and zero out funding for hydrogen vehicles, the U. S. Department of Defense (DoD) has other plans.
The DoD has recently awarded Plug Power Incorporated a $1.5 million contract to produce hydrogen-powered forklifts for the defense department. While this doesn’t seem like a lot of money in comparison it does show that at least one part of the current administration sees value in producing zero emission vehicles powered by hydrogen.
Plug Power, along with Air Products, Proterra and the Gas Technology Institute will not only provide 19 fuel cells and lift trucks for this project but they will also test out a unique method for generating the hydrogen as well.
While most hydrogen produced today is done so by steam reforming natural gas, the hydrogen from this project will come from a wastewater treatment plant digester. I’ve talked about wastewater treatment plants in the past as being a valuable source for hydrogen and the DoD wants to test both production and vehicles under this grant.
Previously Plug Power received $41.9 million from the DOE in federal stimulus money for stationary fuel cell production.