Hydrogen has been widely proposed as a long term option to address environmental and energy security problems posed by current transportation fuels. Hydrogen fuel cell cars are several times more efficient than today’s conventional gasoline cars, and they produce zero tailpipe emissions. They offer good performance, a range of 300-400 mile, and can be refueled in a few minutes. Hydrogen can be made with zero or near-zero emissions from widely available resources, including renewables (like biomass, solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal), fossil fuels (such as natural gas or coal with carbon capture and sequestration), and nuclear energy. In principle, it should be possible to produce and use hydrogen transportation fuel with near-zero well-to-wheels emissions of greenhouse gases and greatly reduced emissions of air pollutants while simultaneously diversifying away from our current dependence on petroleum.
Researchers are exploring new areas such as hydrogen/electricity systems, regional transition case studies, understanding the impact of alternative policies, and enhancing key hydrogen pathways models for infrastructure development strategies. Additional work focuses on the interaction between hydrogen and existing infrastructure, such as electricity and natural gas. This work expands upon the research from the earlier Hydrogen Pathways Program (archived webpage).