The Water Electrolyzers and Fuel Cells Supply Chain Deep Dive Assessment identifies key considerations for the development of water electrolyzer and fuel cell supply chains and materials, focusing on polymer electrolyte and solid oxide technologies, to meet future demand for hydrogen produced by electrolysis and achieve U.S. decarbonization goals.

Electrolyzers, which produce hydrogen from water, and fuel cells, which help generate electricity from hydrogen, are critical tools to help achieve the Biden Administration’s goals of a 100% clean electricity sector by 2035 and a decarbonized economy by 2050. These technologies are critical components of the hydrogen supply chain but are nascent industries with limited data on supply chains.

Released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on February 24, 2022, this report is one of a series of reports produced by DOE in response to Executive Order 14017, “America’s Supply Chains”. It assesses today’s electrolyzer and fuel cell supply chains in the United States and highlights challenges and opportunities for strengthening these supply chains to help achieve the Administration’s goals and create U.S. jobs and economic opportunity.

The overarching opportunity for electrolytic hydrogen within the United States is a potential market of more than 100 million metric tons per year for applications across the industrial, transportation, and power sectors. To meet this market size, U.S. electrolyzer capacity will likely have to increase from 0.17 gigawatts (GW) today to up to 1,000 GW in 2050. In addition, more than 50 GW of domestic fuel cell capacity is required in the decarbonization scenario with an annual manufacturing requirement of more than 3 GW/yr. This level of growth represents a significant opportunity for the United States as electrolytic hydrogen markets and supply chains rapidly grow and develop globally.

Key opportunities to enable the growth of electrolytic hydrogen and fuel cell markets to meet the overarching opportunity include:  

  • Reducing cost and increasing commercialization of electrolytic hydrogen production 
  • Developing economically competitive applications for electrolytic hydrogen 
  • Leading development of codes and standards 
  • Expanding the U.S. electric grid capacity
  • Developing and managing bulk hydrogen storage 
  • Using the natural gas infrastructure for hydrogen transport and storage 
  • Developing domestic material supplies
  • Developing electrolyzer and fuel cell manufacturing capacity 
  • Leading energy and environmental justice issues for a new industry  
  • Potentially exporting hydrogen.

Additional Resources