DOE contract Cummins, Inc. to develop Hydrogen-powered disaster relief vehicle

September 17, 2020

Cummins, Inc. federally funded $1 million for H2Rescue

In a joint operation between the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense and Homeland Security, Cummins Inc. was awarded $1 million to create a government disaster relief vehicle that meets emergency field standards and uses an alternative fuel. In February 2020 the DOE began their search by issuing a solicitation for a capable manufacturer to create their relief vehicle. Through a competitive bidding process, Cummins Inc. was selected to follow through with the government initiative.

Cummins was assigned to develop the H2Rescue, a hydrogen fuel cell powered truck intended for military and civilian disaster relief operations. The H2Rescue truck will provide water, heat, and power to regions directly affected by natural disasters. Although in phase one, this project will mark extensive ground in alternative fuel transportation technologies and research. Through the success of this project we hope to see more multi-agency collaborative efforts that prioritize clean fuel sources in the future when solving other transportation related issues. Furthermore, this project emphasizes the H2@Scale initiative from the DOE to increase the production and availability of Hydrogen fuel in the United States.

Hydrogen fuel is a newer technology being utilized for vehicles to reduce the amount of GHGs being released into the atmosphere. Hydrogen, when consumed in a fuel cell, only releases water. Due to the simplicity and abundance of this fuel source, hydrogen is seen as an attractive alternative to other clean energies. Although there are multiple methods to produce hydrogen the most commonly used is through natural gas reforming also known as thermal processing. A great example for analyzing hydrogen technology is California. California has seen success with hydrogen, with now 6,500 people using hydrogen fueled light-weight vehicles and an overall increased fuel economy, however, disadvantages have quickly presented themselves, such as the impracticality of transporting hydrogen and the overwhelming expense of production. As research continues through the H2Rescue project and other hydrogen initiatives, alternative fuels sources will be inserted into the American mainstream, through accessibility, efficiency, and affordability.

More information can be found at Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy