Hydrogen Production Pathways

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Schematic of near-term, mid-term, and long-term hydrogen production pathways.

DOE is focused on developing technologies that can produce hydrogen at a target of less than $4/kg (delivered and dispensed). To reach these goals, the program looks at a wide portfolio of processes over a range of time frames and production scales.

Currently, most hydrogen in the United States is produced by large-scale natural gas reforming. This established technology has been shown to be able to reach the cost targets in the near-term, as early stations are being built. To produce hydrogen economically and in environmentally friendly ways in the future, DOE supports the research and development of a wide range of technologies.

In the mid-term, technologies based on renewable resources, such as biomass and wind-generated electricity, are anticipated to begin reaching the cost targets.

In the longer term, technology pathways with near-net zero carbon emissions, such as those based on solar energy, are expected to become viable.