Introducing hydrogen as an energy carrier would involve major changes in the country's energy and vehicle fleet infrastructure. Technical challenges, costs, and risk will be highest in the near-term, when markets are very small and the technology and infrastructure are immature. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting scenario analyses to explore the costs and tradeoffs of different near-term options for hydrogen production, delivery, and utilization, and what policies might be most effective in sustaining the early years of hydrogen and fuel cell technology development and adoption. Models are being developed to better understand the combined effects of different vehicle market penetration rates, geographic and spatial layouts of fueling stations, hydrogen production and delivery options, and policies and incentives.

A DOE Hydrogen Transition Analysis Workshop was held on January 26, 2006 to gather input and feedback on the hydrogen scenario analyses models currently funded by DOE. Follow-up meetings were held on August 9-10, 2006 and January 31, 2007 to review the status and results of the scenario analysis activities and gather additional feedback from program stakeholders.

"A transition from the current U.S. energy system to one based on hydrogen will be extremely difficult and challenging and will require a national coordinated effort across DOE's programs and the private sector."

– From the National Research Council's "The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs," February 2004