The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released the Hydrogen Program Plan, a strategic framework that intends to “accelerate research, development, and deployment (RD&D) of hydrogen and related technologies in the United States.” The plan communicates DOE’s plan to focus on conducting coordinated RD&D activities to enable the adoption of hydrogen across multiple domestic applications and sectors. DOE will implement those efforts through the DOE Hydrogen Program, an existing program that facilitates hydrogen research and development activities and that spans multiple DOE offices.
Although the current primary use case for hydrogen is as a feedstock for chemical production, DOE estimates that by 2050, the United States could see a two- to four-fold increase in hydrogen demand across the nation. To meet that expected growth, the Hydrogen Program established application-specific targets to address challenges in scaling hydrogen use across the country, including cost reduction; technological, regulatory, and market barriers; aggregation of disparate sources of hydrogen supply and demand; and the development of integrated energy systems utilizing hydrogen.
Addressing those challenges will be key for various sectors of the economy as the country increasingly focuses on meeting ambitious short- and long-term carbon reduction goals. President-elect Joseph Biden’s $2 trillion climate change plan seeks to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which will rely substantially on carbon reductions in the energy sector. Hydrogen has long been viewed as an important tool for achieving those reductions, but its wide-scale adoption will require significant investments in the integrated energy infrastructure required to produce, deliver, store, and convert hydrogen for power generation.