Hydrogen has held the interest of scientists as a source of energy since the 1800s due to its abundance in the environment and high energy per unit mass. Most of the hydrogen in nature exists as water or bonded in organic compounds, however, and its high vapor pressure means significant compression is required to take advantage of the energy density. Hydrogen also has additional infrastructure challenges associated with its small molecular size and negative effects on material fatigue resistance. While the application of hydrogen as an energy source results in zero emissions, the production of hydrogen primarily relies on steam methane reforming which is energy intensive and releases carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere.
To address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are currently researching hydrogen production, delivery, and storage, with ongoing activities in fuel cell development, manufacturing, systems analysis and integration, safety, standards, and education. DOE/NETL’s Natural Gas Infrastructure Program will explore a mix of laboratory and field-based research focused on: