American-Made Challenges


H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator

Accelerating the development of unique and novel technologies that show potential to produce affordable clean hydrogen.

This challenge is closed

$2.6 million Prize Pool

This challenge is closed


Challenge Overview

The H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator

This $2.6-million prize was launched by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office to identify, develop, and test disruptive technologies to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen production. This prize supports the goal of DOE’s Hydrogen Program and the Hydrogen Energy Earthshot to enable the production of clean hydrogen for $1 per 1 kilogram in 1 decade ("1 1 1").

Propose!  and Prove!  Innovative Concepts

The Hydrogen Shot Incubator supports teams as they develop transformative concepts into early-stage prototypes ready for lab-scale demonstration, through two phases: Propose! and  Prove! This approach will drive the accelerated development of the most promising ideas and provide a steppingstone for American entrepreneurs to secure additional investment.

Propose!  PhasePropose! Phase participants will access resources and environments to foster new solution concepts and develop them into plans for early-stage prototypes in rapid learning cycles. Submission packages must highlight a concept for clean hydrogen production, focusing on lowering the hydrogen production cost. DOE will select up to ten winners to advance in the competition. 

Prove!  Phase: Winners of the Propose! phase will develop their concepts and designs with the help of national laboratory experts. Submissions for the Prove! phase must include a plan with preliminary designs for a laboratory-scale demonstration along with technoeconomic and emissions analyses to validate the proposed idea. DOE will select up to five winners for additional cash and voucher support.

The Hydrogen Shot Incubator will culminate in a Pitch Day event, where Prove! phase winners will present their proof-of-concept along with experimental and analytical findings to potential investors and commercial partners.


View Hydrogen Shot Incubator Rules for more information.


Challenge Guidelines

Please "follow "the prize to receive more in detail and updated information about the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize. Expect updates early June 2022, including prize rules and submission form. When you "follow" the prize, updates will be sent to the email you registered with on HeroX. 


If you have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or email us at





Challenge Updates

September H2IQ Hour – Part II: HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials Capabilities Overview

Sept. 15, 2022, 11:01 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Join the September H2IQ Hour – Part II on September 16 at 1 p.m. ET for an overview of the HydroGEN Advanced Water Splitting Materials consortium and its direct solar hydrogen production capabilities. HydroGEN is a consortium of five U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories with world-class capabilities and expertise in photoelectrochemical, solar thermochemical, low-temperature electrolytic, and high-temperature electrolytic water splitting pathways. In this webinar, HydroGEN Director Huyen Dinh, of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will present an overview of the consortium and highlight capabilities that can support collaborative R&D projects on solar fuels, including photoelectrochemical and solar thermochemical water splitting pathways.

The webinar will include a 45-minute live presentation followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. A recording will be available on the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office website after the event.

Reminder: Hydrogen Shot Incubator Submission Deadline is Tomorrow

Aug. 16, 2022, 3:06 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

As a reminder, the Propose! Phase deadline for the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize is tomorrow, August 17 no later than 5:00 p.m. ET! We strongly encourage you to upload your submissions well ahead of the deadline to avoid any last-minute technical difficulties. If you have any questions, please email us at before 5:00 p.m. ET. 

Good luck!

Phase 1: Propose! Deadline: Wednesday, August 17

Aug. 12, 2022, 9:03 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The Propose! Phase deadline for the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize is next Wednesday, August 17!

Don’t miss this opportunity to submit your concept for clean, affordable hydrogen production technologies. Up to ten winners will be selected for the Propose! phase.  Teams will be selected to further their concepts with support from national laboratory experts. 

We look forward to your innovative submissions!

Watch the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Phase 1 Informational Webinar Recording Now

July 13, 2022, 11:29 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Did you miss the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize Informational Webinar today, July 8? Don’t worry—you can now stream the webinar recording or review the slides to learn more about the prize and how you can compete.


Remember, Phase 1: Prove! closes on August 17, 2022.  We encourage you to review the rules and submit questions to the HeroX forum or to . Thank you!

REMINDER: Join the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Informational Webinar on July 7!

July 5, 2022, 9:17 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Don’t forget to join us on July 7 at 1 p.m ET for an overview of the H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator. Prize administrators will present on everything you need to know about competing, including the timeline, deliverables, and voucher details, followed by a Q&A session. A recording of the webinar will be available on HeroX and the HFTO website following the event.

Register now for the H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator informational webinar. We hope to see you there!