Hydrogen produced from renewable energy is an important component of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology (FCT) Program efforts to develop fuel cells for a diverse range of applications. The primary objective of the DOE hydrogen production R&D portfolio is to reduce the cost of hydrogen obtained from domestic renewable resources, making it competitive with gasoline and other current conventional fuels. Several key hydrogen production technologies representing a range of production scales and timeframes to market have been addressed in the FCT portfolio. These include, bio-derived liquids reforming, biomass gasification, as well as electrolytic, thermochemical and photolytic processes to split water. R&D progress made in recent years towards increasing the efficiency and reducing the projected cost of hydrogen production will be reviewed. Analyses of hydrogen production cost sensitivities has identified key challenges to further improvements in efficiencies and the realization of the DOE hydrogen cost goal. Capital costs, process and solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies as well as materials durability are key factors to be addressed through R&D. Results of analyses and how these are being used to set short term and long term portfolio targets, priorities, and directions will be discussed.
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