The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO) conducts comprehensive efforts to overcome the technological, economic, and institutional barriers to the development of hydrogen and fuel cells. The office is aligned with the strategic vision and goals of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The office's efforts will help secure U.S. leadership in clean energy technologies and advance U.S. economic competitiveness and scientific innovation.
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What We Do
DOE is the lead federal agency for directing and integrating activities in hydrogen and fuel cell R&D as authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office is responsible for coordinating the R&D activities for DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program, which includes activities within four DOE offices (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy [EERE], Office of Fossil Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, and Office of Science).
Guided by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Plan, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office within EERE works in partnership with industry, academia, and national laboratories—and in close coordination with the Vehicle Technologies Office and other programs at DOE—to:
- Overcome technical barriers through R&D of hydrogen production, delivery, and storage technologies, as well as fuel cell technologies for transportation, distributed stationary power, and portable power applications
- Address safety issues and facilitate the development of model codes and standards
- Validate and demonstrate hydrogen and fuel cells in real-world conditions
- Educate key stakeholders whose acceptance of these technologies will determine their success in the marketplace.
Why It Matters
Hydrogen and fuel cells offer a broad range of benefits for the environment, for our nation's energy security, and for our domestic economy, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced oil consumption, expanded use of renewable power (through use of hydrogen for energy storage and transmission), highly efficient energy conversion, fuel flexibility (use of diverse, domestic fuels, including clean and renewable fuels), reduced air pollution, and highly reliable grid support. Fuel cells also have numerous advantages that make them appealing for end-users, including quiet operation, low maintenance needs, and high reliability. In addition to using hydrogen, fuel cells can provide power from a variety of other fuels, including natural gas and renewable fuels such as methanol or biogas.
Hydrogen and fuel cells can provide these benefits and address critical challenges in all energy sectors—commercial, residential, industrial, and transportation—through their use in diverse applications, including distributed energy and combined-heat-and-power systems; backup power systems; systems for storing and transmitting renewable energy; portable power; auxiliary power for trucks, aircraft, rail, and ships; specialty vehicles such as forklifts; and passenger and freight vehicles, including cars, light trucks, buses, and short-haul trucks.
The vision is a prosperous future for the nation, in which hydrogen energy and fuel cell power are clean, abundant, reliable, and affordable and are an integral part of all sectors of the economy in all regions of the country.
The mission of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office is to enable the development of a portfolio of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies through applied research, technology development and demonstration, and diverse efforts to overcome institutional and market challenges.
The objectives of HFTO are to:
- Dramatically reduce dependence on foreign oil
- Promote the use of diverse, domestic, and sustainable energy resources
- Reduce carbon emissions from energy production and consumption
- Increase the reliability and efficiency of electricity generation
- Create and maintain a domestic manufacturing base and a domestic workforce.
Research, development, and demonstration activity goals that the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office is working to achieve through 2015 are described in detail in the office's Multi-Year RD&D Plan.