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Army to award up to $1.8 million for clean hydrogen-fuel technologies

Published: 03/14/2023
The Army seeks to further diversify its Clean Tech investments through the development of novel, hydrogen-based solutions.

By Daniel Smoot, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR Program

WASHINGTON – Small businesses can contribute to the Army climate strategy — prioritizing the optimal use of fuel, water, electricity, and other resources — through new clean tech solicitations for electric-vehicle and energy capabilities.

The Army Applied Small Business Innovation Research Program seeks innovative small businesses to develop conformable hydrogen storage and hydrogen generator systems capable of quickly refueling vehicles when their main fuel tanks are empty in combat settings. These technologies will provide the silent mobility and torque of electric vehicles while maintaining current ranges on par with traditional combustion engines.

“As the Army moves toward more electrified platforms, new challenges arise, such as running out of fuel or energy during critical missions,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “Preparing for situations like this is critical to protect Soldiers and optimize next-generation vehicles.”

The Army will assess small businesses that submit proposals for the hydrogen-based clean tech solicitations by gauging the size and capabilities of their solutions within the following criteria:

Conformable Hydrogen Storage

  • Systems must perform and successfully test at the desired operating pressure.
  • Hydrogen fuel tanks must conform to fit unusually shaped spaces.
  • These tanks must meet Canadian Standards Association/American National Standards Institute Hydrogen Gas Vehicle safety criteria.

Hydrogen Generator System

  • The system should generate hydrogen from materials contained within it.
  • It should be lightweight and have a similar form factor to a 20-liter liquid fuel container.
  • The speed at which the hydrogen moves through the system should appropriately match what fuel cells need to operate.

Contract awards as high as $1.8 million

Companies selected for an Army Direct to Phase II SBIR contract can receive awards up to $1.8 million each to develop the new clean tech solutions. Throughout the 18-month period of performance, nontraditional vendors will work with Army experts to test and demonstrate their technologies.

Direct to Phase II selectees may also apply for a Phase II Sequential award that could offer as much as $1.4 million over 18 months and a Phase II Sequential Enhancement award of up to $500,000 for a five-month period of performance.

If the technologies show promise, small businesses could eventually transition to a Phase III, with dual-use application potential within the Army SBIR Program, other Army acquisition programs, and the commercial transportation and housing industries.

The pre-release period for the new solicitation is from March 14 to March 29. During this time, businesses can submit questions through email or through the Defense SBIR|STTR Innovation Portal. Qualified companies start submitting proposals March 30 through May 2 at noon EDT. Businesses must submit full proposal packages through the DSIP Portal.

Opportunities for small businesses

To enhance contracting speed and the transition of technologies into Army acquisition programs, the Army adapted its strategy within the SBIR Program. Even though the Army has always focused on the development of innovative technologies, it now aims to support solutions with dual-use capabilities that address Army needs, offer commercial potential, and drive the success of U.S. small businesses.

This strategy allows nontraditional vendors to utilize Army resources, such as technical points of contact, acquisition programs and the Army SBIR Contracting Center of Excellence, while also advancing hydrogen-fuel-based clean tech solutions.

About ASA(ALT) and the Army Applied SBIR Program

The Army Applied SBIR Programs offers valuable opportunities to small businesses to interact with technical, acquisition and operational subject matter experts. These experts provide insight into technological needs while guiding nontraditional vendors through the Army research and development ecosystem.

Small businesses coordinate with technical points of contact that serve as resources as they mature their solutions for transition into Army acquisition programs. The Army Applied SBIR Program’s flexibility and timeliness also maximize the initial cash flow for companies while minimizing the time to contract.

The program releases contract opportunities on an ad-hoc basis to respond to the Army’s present and projected technology needs. For a list of open topics and eligibility information, please visit

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology offers the American Soldier a decisive advantage in any mission by developing acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services. It also leverages its technological capabilities to meet current and future Army needs. To learn more, please visit

The Army seeks to further diversify its Clean Tech investments through the development of novel, hydrogen-based solutions.

Army to award up to $1.8 million for clean hydrogen-fuel technologies

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