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The H-Prize program is series of inducement prizes intended to encourage research into the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier in a hydrogen economy. The program is sponsored by the United States Department of Energy and administered by the Hydrogen Education Foundation, although as of April 2014 no prizes have been awarded.

In March 2014, the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced plans for an H-Prize competition to develop a small-scale hydrogen generation and refueling station for hydrogen vehicles. The prize, named the H2 Refuel H-Prize and worth $1 million, is planned to be awarded in 2016.[1]


Legislation for the prize, introduced by Rep. Bob Inglis, passed the United States House of Representatives in May 2006 as H.R. 5143,[2] but did not receive a vote in the United States Senate. After being reintroduced by Rep. Dan Lipinski at the beginning of a new term in January 2007, it was eventually folded into the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate and was then signed into law in December 2007.

The bill authorized $50 million in prize money, for the period from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2017. However, in order to be spent, these funds must also be included in Congress's annual appropriation bills, the law provides for three categories of prizes:

  • Four prizes of up to $1 million, awarded every two years for advances in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization;
  • One prize of up to $4 million, awarded two years to working prototypes of hydrogen vehicles which meet ambitious performance goals; and
  • A $10 million grand prize, awarded only once during the program for a major technological breakthrough.

In October 2008, the Hydrogen Education Foundation of Washington, D.C. was selected to administer the H-Prize along with SCRA, a South Carolina research foundation.


In August 2009, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $1 million prize for innovative hydrogen storage materials which would be awarded in February 2011.[3] However, the prize was never awarded.

In March 2014, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced tentative plans for a $1 million H2 Refuel H-Prize. The competition is planned to focus on developing small hydrogen refueling stations that can generate hydrogen from electricity or natural gas and dispense it to vehicles at least 1 kg at a time.

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