Canada United States

IPHE Country Update: April 2017

Name: Sunita Satyapal; Mike Mills
Contact Information:;
Covered Period: November 2016 - April 2017

New Policy Initiatives on Hydrogen and Fuel Cell (Read more)

Policy Decisions since last meeting:

Administration changes:

  • Donald Trump was sworn in as President on January 20

Organizational changes:

  • Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry was sworn in as the Energy Secretary on March 2.

Proposed budget:

  • The President’s ‘skinny budget’ proposed that EERE will focus on “early-stage applied energy research and development activities where the Federal role is stronger”.

New Publications since last meeting:

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell R&D Update (Read more)   

Buses have achieved up to 23,000 hr durability for fuel cell power plant, exceeding 2016 target

Fuel cell buses have surpassed 15 million passengers

FCEVs have achieved 3,900 hr (117,000 mi) durability (4-fold increase since 2006)

The U.S. Army will test the Colorado ZH2 in extreme field conditions next year to determine the viability of hydrogen-powered vehicles on military missions.

Stationary Power: Improved mean electrical efficiency for fuel cells with >100 kW exceeding 2015 target

Fuel cell forklifts have surpassed 5 million hydrogen refuelings

Developed an 875 bar stationary pressure vessel design, which received approval by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Achieved a world record of 16% efficiency in direct photovoltaic hydrogen conversion using III-V semiconductor tandem devices

Demonstration and Deployments Update (Read more)

Progress continues towards 100 stations in California. By March, 26 retail stations and 5 non-retail stations had opened in California and an additional 15 are in process. 12-25 retail stations are planned for the Northeast U.S. Over 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipeline are in place.

Demand for FCEVs has increased exponentially. Through March over 1,600 FCEVs had been purchased or leased. (In July, 2016 there were 331 fuel cell vehicles registered in California.)

H2USA: Surpassed 50 partners in H2USA and supported H2USA with National Lab experts, creating station rollout scenarios and tools to enable infrastructure plans.

Events and Solicitations (Read more)

U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program 2017 Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting: Hydrogen and fuel cell projects funded by DOE will be presented and reviewed for their merit from June 5-9, 2017.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee (HTAC): Upcoming biannual meeting will take place on May 4-5, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Investments: Government and Collaborative Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Funding (Read more)  

In January of 2017, DOE announced SimpleFuel as the winner of the $1 million H2 Refuel H-Prize Competition. The H2 Refuel H-Prize Competition challenged America's innovators to deploy an on-site hydrogen generation system, using electricity or natural gas, to fuel hydrogen vehicles, that can be used in homes, community centers, small businesses, or similar locations. SimpleFuel's home scale refueling appliance can provide a 1-kilogram fill to vehicles in 15 minutes or less at 700 bar using hydrogen produced via electrolysis, with a cost-effective design that minimizes setback distances and reduces the physical footprint of the system.

Regulations, Codes & Standards Update (


Data Table (






Federal websites relating to hydrogen and fuel cell policy, research programs, and stakeholder associations:

Key stakeholder associations:

Reports & Publications

Planning Documents

In 2006, the DOE's hydrogen and fuel cell activities were documented at a high level in the Hydrogen Posture Plan PDF 2.46MB), which also included U.S. Department of Transportation activities. In 2011, the Department of Energy released the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Plan that outlines the strategy, activities, and plans of the DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program. Detailed discussions of the barriers as well as current and planned RD&D activities can be found in the hydrogen R&D plans of the individual DOE offices, as follows:

Reports to Congress


Member Statements

Member Statements (Read more) - Last updated November 2016


Involvement (Read more) - Last updated May 2009

A number of agencies within the U.S. Federal Government are collaborating on research, development, and demonstration of hydrogen and fuel-cell-related technologies. Agency representatives meet regularly to share research results, technical expertise, and lessons learned about program implementation and technology deployment in order to coordinate interagency programs and activities related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Participating U.S. Federal Agencies:

The U.S. Government's principal effort in hydrogen and fuel cell research, development, and demonstration is the Fuel Cell Technologies Program, within DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).  

U.S. Department of Energy (Read more) - Last updated May 2009


The DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Program conducts comprehensive efforts to overcome the technological, economic, and institutional obstacles to the widespread commercialization of fuel cells and related technologies.  The Program works with partners in industry, academia, non-profit institutions, and the national labs. In addition, the Program coordinates closely with other programs in four DOE offices—Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Science, Fossil Energy, and Nuclear Energy.

Key Accomplishments

DOE has achieved several significant accomplishments since hydrogen and fuel cell RD&D was accelerated in 2004:

  • Significant cost reduction of automotive fuel cells (Costs dropped from $275/kW in 2002 to $61/kW in 2009, based on projections of high-volume manufacturing costs.)
  • Two-fold increase in the durability of fuel cell systems in vehicles operating under real-world conditions (Data in 2006 showed 950-hour durability; today, this number is 2,500-hour durability — equivalent to approximately 75,000 miles of driving.)
  • Demonstration of fuel cell membrane electrode assembly durability — more than 7,300 hours (with cycling at < 80°C) in single-cell laboratory tests, exceeding DOE's 2015 target of 5,000 hours
  • Cost reduction of hydrogen production from both renewable resources and natural gas (Hydrogen can now be produced by distributed reforming of natural gas at a projected high-volume cost of $3.00/gallon gasoline equivalent—a cost competitive with gasoline.)
  • Identification of several new materials that show a 50% improvement in on-board hydrogen storage capacity
  • Validation of hydrogen technologies by demonstrating 140 fuel cell vehicles and 20 refueling stations nationwide

Mission and Key Goals

The mission of the Fuel Cell Technologies Program is to enable the widespread commercialization of fuel cells in diverse sectors of the economy. This mission is to be accomplished 1) with emphasis on applications that will most effectively improve our stewardship of the environment and expand economic opportunities, 2) through research, development, and demonstration of critical improvements in the technologies, and 3) through diverse activities to overcome economic and institutional obstacles to commercialization.  The Program's primary goal is to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in the marketplace, making them competitive with incumbent and other emerging technologies. The Program has defined its key goals based on the technical advances that are needed and the timeframe in which they can be accomplished, as identified through discussions with the research community and stakeholders from all relevant energy sectors.


The Program has a comprehensive strategy that incorporates a broad-based, technology-neutral approach with highly focused efforts in specific technologies and applications.  The Program pursues the advancement of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for a wide range of applications, supporting core research in areas common to many applications and technologies.  Specific targets and milestones for all R&D pathways are developed in close consultation with experts in industry and the research community, and Program activities are selected on the basis of their ability to make progress toward these milestones. 

The Program's approach for making technical advances includes integrating basic and applied research, technology development, and technology validation and demonstration. Communication and feedback among these areas allow the Program to more rapidly identify challenges and roadblocks as they emerge and to more effectively allocate resources to R&D efforts.

Program Activities

To address the key challenges facing the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, the Fuel Cell Technologies Program conducts the following activities:

Hydrogen Production & Delivery R&D

The Program is developing lower-cost methods for producing and delivering hydrogen. The ultimate goal is for several different domestic production and delivery pathways to be used (at a variety of scales ranging from large, centralized production to very small, local [distributed] production) depending on what makes the most economic and logistical sense for a given location.  The key objective for all production/delivery pathways is to reduce the cost of hydrogen to $2 to $3 per gallon gasoline equivalent (gge), delivered and untaxed.  

Hydrogen Storage R&D 

The Program is developing hydrogen storage systems that are more compact, have higher capacity, and are less costly.  The key objective is to enable a driving range of at least 300 miles for all light-duty vehicle platforms, without reductions in interior space or performance, and without increases in cost.  The principal focus of these efforts is on advanced materials having the potential to store hydrogen at lower pressures and near-ambient temperatures, with reduced volume and weight.

Fuel Cell R&D 

The Program's fuel cell R&D efforts are aimed at reducing the cost and improving the durability of fuel cells.  The key applications under development are as follows:

  • Stationary fuel cell system with 40% efficiency and a 40,000-hour lifespan at a cost of $750/kW

  • Combined-heat-and-power fuel cell system with 90% overall efficiency and a 60,000 hour lifespan at a cost of $450/kW

  • Auxiliary power fuel cell operating on standard ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel with an efficiency of 40% and a 20,000-hour lifespan, at a cost of $500/kW

  • Vehicular fuel cell system with 60% peak efficiency and a 5,000-hour lifespan (150,000 miles) for a cost of $30/kW (projected to manufacturing volumes of 500,000 units/year)

Manufacturing R&D 

This effort is aimed at developing and demonstrating processes and technologies that reduce the manufacturing cost of fuel cell systems and systems for the production, delivery, and storage of hydrogen while ensuring quality and reliability.  These low-cost, high-volume manufacturing processes are critical tools that industry needs to produce affordable hydrogen and fuel cell components and systems and to develop a domestic supplier base.

Technology Validation

The Program conducts technology validation activities to fully assess and validate the results of its R&D efforts (e.g., demonstrations of stationary power systems, vehicles, and hydrogen infrastructure).

Safety, Codes & Standards 

The Program is addressing critical needs regarding hydrogen safety concerns and the development of codes and standards, which are essential for establishing a receptive market environment for hydrogen-based products and systems. 


The Program is addressing the knowledge barriers that may impede the acceptance of hydrogen technologies. Overcoming these barriers is critical to enabling the successful implementation of near-term hydrogen demonstration projects and early-market fuel cell installations, as well as the longer-term market adoption and acceptance that are required to realize the full benefits of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. 

Market Transformation

To ensure that the benefits of its efforts are realized, the Program conducts activities to facilitate the growth of early markets for fuel cells, particularly in the areas of backup power and specialty vehicles (e.g., forklifts).  The growth of early markets will help reduce costs by enabling economies of scale, which will result in increased market opportunities for fuel cells. The Program has focused most of its efforts in this area toward facilitating federal early adoption of fuel cells, through technical and financial support.

Systems Analysis

The Program conducts systems analysis activities to ensure that its efforts are directed in the most effective way.  These activities involve extensive cross-cutting lifecycle analysis, emissions analysis, and environmental analysis to enable a comprehensive understanding of the major issues involved in potential hydrogen and fuel cell energy systems.   Some specific issues include: the impacts of various technology pathways (well-to-wheels energy and environmental issues), resource needs and impacts, cost elements and drivers, key cost and technological gaps, alternative means for meeting Program goals, progress toward Program targets, and energy-related economic benefits.

Competitive Project-Selection and External Input and Review

The Program ensures the most effective use of funds through a rigorous competitive-selection process, cost-sharing with private-sector partners, and extensive use of peer-reviews. The Program also incorporates input and guidance from expert advisory groups and external review boards, such as the National Academies of Science and Engineering, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee, the Government Accountability Office, as well as other sources including Congress and the Administration.  In addition, the Program benefits from ongoing feedback through interaction with a wide range of stakeholders in industry, academia, and non-profit organizations.


Office of Science

The Office of Basic Energy Sciences within the DOE Office of Science supports fundamental scientific research addressing critical challenges related to hydrogen storage, production, and fuel cells; and the Office of Biological and Environmental Research conducts basic research on the biological production of hydrogen. These basic research efforts complement the applied research and development projects supported by other offices in the Program.

Office of Fossil Energy

The Office of Fossil Energy (FE) conducts RD&D of large-scale, centralized, efficient hydrogen production from coal with carbon sequestration, including advanced technologies to reform high-hydrogen-content, coal-derived carriers; advanced processes and technologies to produce lower-cost hydrogen; and technologies to integrate carbon sequestration (capture and containment and/or reuse) with fossil-based hydrogen production systems. FE is also conducting an effort in solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) called the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA). This program is aimed at reducing the cost and improving the performance of SOFCs, primarily for use in larger, megawatt-scale, near-zero emissions stationary-power applications. 

Office of Nuclear Energy

The Office of Nuclear Energy conducts RD&D of centralized, low-cost production of hydrogen using nuclear energy, including high-temperature electrolysis and sulfur-based thermochemical cycles. 

Policy & Legislation (Read more) - Last updated May 2009

The following acts of Congress have all contained significant provisions for advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and expanding their use:   

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)

ARRA provided more than $40 million in funding for deployments of early-market fuel cells nationwide.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA)

EISA (PDF 2.1 MB) includes provisions to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security; increased production of clean renewable fuels; protection of consumers; increased product, building, and vehicle efficiency; promotion of research on and deployment of greenhouse gas capture and storage options; and improved energy performance of the Federal Government.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005)

EPACT 2005 (PDF 1.28MB) directed the Energy Secretary to conduct a research and development program—in consultation with other federal agencies and the private sector—on technologies related to the production, purification, distribution, storage, and use of hydrogen energy, fuel cells, and related infrastructure.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992

Energy Policy Act of 1992 directed the Energy Secretary to develop and implement a comprehensive research, development, and demonstration program for fuel cells and related transportation system applications.

Demonstration & Deployment (Read more) - Last updated May 2009


The United States of America has several active hydrogen fuel cell demonstration projects. These projects strive to demonstrate and validate the technology through real-world usage and data collection to compare progress to national and industrial technical targets:



  • 92 fuel cell vehicles
  • ~25 ICE vehicles (converted Prius H2ICE vehicles by Quantum, as part of the South Coast Quality Management District's "5-City" Project)
  • 13 active fuel cell buses (26 fuel cell buses planned by 2009)
  • 21 ICE buses


According to the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, approximately 2,000 stationary fuel cells are installed in the United States.


The U.S. Department of Defense is conducting a fuel cell forklift demonstration at four defense distribution warehouse sites around the nation. The demonstration involves up to 80 forklift units and hydrogen fueling infrastructure.


DOE Hydrogen Technology Validation Overview

DOE/NREL Learning Demonstration Results and Publications

DOE/NREL FCB Technology Validation

FTA National Fuel Cell Bus Program

AC Transit FCB Program

SunLine Transit Agency

Santa Clara VTA

University of Delaware FCB


The U.S. DOT (Federal Transit Administration, FTA) and DOE also support and participate in the International Fuel Cell Bus Workshops. These IPHE-recognized events are held annually in locations rotating among Europe, North America, and Asia. The overall goals are to enhance information sharing on the status of FCB demonstrations worldwide; harmonize data collection and evaluation to maximize possible learnings; and to facilitate coordination and collaboration of research, development, and demonstration of future FCBs. A website is in development to provide general information and data sharing between participants. FTA funds the website and the organization/facilitation of these workshops through its National Fuel Cell Bus Program.