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DOE launches H2USA public-private partnership to deploy hydrogen infrastructure

The US Department of Energy has launched H2USA, a new public-private partnership focused on advancing hydrogen infrastructure to support more transportation energy options for US consumers, including fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

The H2USA partnership brings together automakers, government agencies, gas suppliers, and the hydrogen and fuel cell industries to coordinate research and identify cost-effective solutions to deploy infrastructure that can deliver affordable, clean hydrogen fuel in the US.

‘By bringing together key stakeholders from across the US fuel cell and hydrogen industry, the H2USA partnership will help advance affordable fuel cell electric vehicles that save consumers money and give drivers more options,’ explains David Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

H2USA members include the American Gas Association, Association of Global Automakers, California Fuel Cell Partnership, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association, Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition, Hyundai Motor America, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nissan North America Research & Development, Toyota Motor North America, Proton OnSite – which is cutting hydrogen energy storage costs – and UK-based ITM Power, which is involved in hydrogen infrastructure projects such as the EcoIsland project in the Isle of Wight.

‘The fact that a number of entities are coming together to work together through this partnership is a very positive sign,’ says Morry Markowitz, President and Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association.

Recent development of the tremendous shale gas resources in the US has not only helped directly cut electricity and transportation costs for consumers and businesses, but is also helping to reduce the costs of producing hydrogen and operating hydrogen fuel cells.

While American automakers and private industry have made significant progress, H2USA will bring experts together to identify and solve key infrastructure challenges, including leveraging low-cost natural gas resources.

Through H2USA, industry and government partners will focus on identifying actions to encourage early adopters of FCEVs, conduct coordinated technical and market analysis, and evaluate alternative fuelling infrastructure that can enable cost reductions and economies of scale.

For example, infrastructure being developed for alternative fuels such as natural gas, as well as fuel cell applications including tri-generation that produce heat, power and hydrogen from natural gas or biogas, may also provide low-cost hydrogen for vehicles.

In addition, increased fuel cell deployment for combined heat and power (CHP), backup power systems, and fuel cell powered materials handling vehicles such as forklifts can help pave the way for a mainstream hydrogen vehicle infrastructure.

With support from DOE through its Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program, private industry and DOE’s national laboratories have already achieved significant advances in fuel cell and hydrogen technologies to reduce costs and improve performance.

These R&D efforts have helped reduce automotive fuel cell costs by more than 35 percent since 2008, and by more than 80 percent since 2002. At the same time, fuel cell durability has doubled, and the amount of expensive platinum needed in fuel cells has fallen by 80 percent since 2005.

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Energy infrastructure  •  Energy storage including Fuel cells  •  Policy, investment and markets