The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Nikola Motor Co. a $1.7-million grant to advance its research into fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA), Nikola said Wednesday.
The grant is funded by the department’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Transportation Office under a recently announced program, it said.
“This award provides an opportunity for the highly talented Nikola team to leverage expertise in academia and exceptional resources within the DOE Fuel Cell Consortium for Performance and Durability to accelerate a breakthrough that will benefit the entire hydrogen and fuel cell industry and community,” said Jesse Schneider, an executive vice-president at Nikola.
Nikola and its academic partners are pursuing a new approach and unique MEA architecture to satisfy the high-power output and durability requirements of heavy-duty applications, the company said.
In this project, Nikola will bring together advanced concepts in catalysts, ionomers, proton exchange membranes and gas diffusion layers within a robust MEA by using appropriate, scalable fabrication methods, it said.
Nikola’s Norwegian hydrogen station partner, NEL Hydrogen of Oslo, meanwhile, received a $2-million grant from the DOE.
Nikola Corp. designs and manufactures hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems and hydrogen stations.
The company has received more than 14,000 orders for Nikola Class 8 trucks.