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Nikola gains US$1.7M DOE grant for fuel cell membrane electrode assembly

In the United States (US), Nikola Motor Company (Nikola) has announced that it has been awarded a US$1.7 million grant by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to advance its research into fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA). The joint grant was funded by the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Transportation Office under the recently announced FY19 Commercial Trucks and Off-Road Applications FOA.

Nikola Tre

Coming to Europe, Nikola Tre hydrogen-electric truck is to begin testing in Norway around 2020 (image courtesy Nikola).

Nikola Corporation designs and manufactures hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen stations. The company is pursuing a new approach and unique fuel cell membrane electrode assembly (MEA) architecture to satisfy the high-power output and durability requirements of heavy-duty applications with its academic partners: Carnegie Mellon University Prof. Shawn Litster, Northeastern University Prof. Sanjeev Mukerjee and Georgia Institute of Technology Prof. Younan Xia.

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.

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, Executive Vice President, Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technologies, Nikola.

Nikola’s hydrogen station partner NEL Hydrogen of Oslo, Norway was also awarded a US$2 million grant from the DOE. Nikola executives are serving as the technical lead on that project as well.

According to Nikola, there is currently over 14 000 Nikola class 8 trucks on order. The trucks will be manufactured in Coolidge, Arizona, and testing will begin on Arizona roads this year with full production expected in late 2022.

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