The mission of the Hydrogen Research is to enhance and support the development of cost-competitive hydrogen technologies and systems that will reduce the environmental impacts of energy use and enable the penetration of renewable energy into the U.S. energy mix.
Hydrogen, produced using renewable energy power systems — including those generated by wind, solar, hydropower, and the gasification of biomass — can be stored and transported to U.S. energy end-use markets (utility, transportation, and industrial) and converted directly to electricity in a fuel cell or into thermal energy via combustion.
To achieve its mission, the hydrogen program has four strategies:
(1) expand the use of hydrogen in the near-term by working with industry, including hydrogen producers, to improve efficiency, lower emissions, and lower the cost of technologies that produce hydrogen from natural gas for distributed filling stations;
(2) work with fuel cell manufacturers to develop hydrogen-based electricity storage and generation systems that will enhance the introduction and penetration of distributed, renewables-based utility systems;
(3) coordinate with the Department of Defense and DOE's Office of Transportation Technologies to demonstrate safe and cost-effective fueling systems for hydrogen vehicles in urban non-attainment areas and to provide onboard hydrogen storage systems; and
(4) work with the national laboratories to lower the cost of technologies that produce hydrogen directly from sunlight and water.
Hydrogen is the chemist's analog to electricity. Like electricity, hydrogen does not occur naturally in a usable form — it must be generated or produced by consuming fuels or other forms of energy. Like electricity, hydrogen can be used in a variety of applications. Also like electricity, hydrogen is environmentally benign; it can be combusted like ordinary fuels or converted to electricity in fuel cells, forming water or steam as the exhaust product.