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 Timeline

April 21, 2022, 11 p.m. PDT
Follow the Challenge!
Follow the Challenge (Please check back soon for prize updates and deadlines)
April 22, 2022, 7:48 a.m. PDT
Date Launched
June 6, 2022, 8 a.m. PDT
Phase 1: Propose! Opens
July 7, 2022, 10 a.m. PDT
Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize Informational Webinar
Register here:
Aug. 17, 2022, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Phase 1: Propose! Closes
Aug. 18, 2022, 8 a.m. PDT
Judging of Phase 1 begins
Oct. 6, 2022, 8 a.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Judging of Phase 1 ends
Oct. 11, 2022, 10 a.m. PDT
Winners Announced
Phase 1 Winners Announced (anticipated date)
Oct. 12, 2022, 8 a.m. PDT
Phase 2: Prove! Opens (anticipated date)
Dec. 3, 2022, 2:19 p.m. PST
You are here
June 12, 2023, 2 p.m. PDT
Submission Deadline
Phase 2: Prove! Closes (anticipated date)
June 13, 2023, 8 a.m. PDT
Judging of Phase 2 begins (anticipated date)
July 19, 2023, 4 p.m. PDT
Judging Closed
Judging of Phase 2 ends (anticipated date)
July 20, 2023, 10 a.m. PDT
Winners Announced
Phase 2 Winners Announced (anticipated date)
Jan. 6, 2025, 10 a.m. PST
Pitch Event and Summaries Due
(anticipated date)

Challenge Updates

November H2IQ Hour: Demonstrations of H2A-Lite and H2FAST Models

Oct. 25, 2022, 10:23 a.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

Join our November H2IQ Hour webinar on November 3, 2022, at 12 p.m. EDT for an overview and demonstration of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL)Hydrogen Analysis Lite Production (H2A-Lite) model and Hydrogen Financial Analysis Scenario Tool (H2FAST). The demonstration will be conducted by Michael (Misho) Penev, senior analyst for infrastructure and energy storage analysis at NREL, currently on detail to DOE.

H2A-Lite is a user-friendly model that provides a high-level techno-economic view of different hydrogen production technologies, including breakdowns of hydrogen cost as well as expected emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants. H2FAST provides convenient, in-depth financial analysis of hydrogen systems, including annual projections of income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. Both H2A-Lite and H2FAST are based on prior NREL models that have been used by thousands of stakeholders around the world.

The H2IQ Hour will include 45 minutes of presentation and demonstration followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. A recording of the H2IQ Hour will be available on the website after the event. Register today.

Announcing the H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator Propose! Phase Winners!

Oct. 11, 2022, 9:17 a.m. PDT by Prize Administrator

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the winners of the first phase of the H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator, a $2.6 million competition to foster innovative concepts for producing clean hydrogen. With these awards, nine winning teams will each receive $10,000 in cash and $50,000 in vouchers for teams to spend at national laboratories to further develop their concepts. 

The winners of the first phase, and their proposed concepts, are:

  • BoMax Hydrogen (Sanford, FL)—a system that integrates light-activated nanoparticles with an enzyme to produce clean hydrogen from sunlight
  • Gold Hydrogen Team (Houston, TX)—a process using dark fermentation to biologically produce hydrogen in spent oil wells 
  • Electro-Active Hydrogen (Knoxville, TN)—a system that integrates solar energy with algal hydrothermal liquefaction and microbial electrolysis to generate clean hydrogen, leveraging the chemical energy from organic matter
  • Evolve Hydrogen Inc. (East Northport, NY)—a novel electrolyzer system design that can use seawater as a feedstock without the need for precious metal materials 
  • H3 (Palo Alto, CA)—a system that integrates high-temperature solid oxide electrolyzers with thermal energy storage to enable continuous hydrogen production even when using intermittent renewable resources
  • Biomass Super Gasifier (Indianapolis, IN)—an indirectly-heated pyrolytic gasification process to convert carbon-based feedstocks into syngas from which hydrogen can be extracted—with the remaining syngas used in a solid oxide fuel cell to generate power to run the system
  • NX Fuels Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI)—a technology that harnesses sunlight to produce hydrogen from seawater using a photoelectrochemical process
  • PAX H2(O) (Richmond, CA)—a technology that could reduce the capital and operating expenses of an electrolysis system by producing clean water using waste heat from the electrolyzer
  • The Hope Group (Lubbock, TX)—in-situ microwave-assisted catalytic heating to crack methane­ and generate hydrogen directly from depleted natural gas reservoirs

The H-Prize: Hydrogen Shot Incubator is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and is jointly funded by the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. This prize is one of the American-Made Prizes, a continually growing portfolio of prize programs, from 16 DOE offices, with more than $110 million in committed prizes supporting a wide range of clean energy technology innovations.


Oct. 6, 2022, 2:58 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

The Phase 1 winners of the Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize will be announced the week of October 10 as part of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Week activities! Please keep an eye out on the HeroX updates tab as well as on the EERE website to catch the announcement. Winners will also receive an email from

To help teams prepare for the next phase of the prize, we have provided a Voucher Digest and Capabilities Menu on the HeroX Resources tab. Please feel free to review this information to learn more about the voucher process.


Thank you!

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!