In the past few years, DOT, DOE, and their industrial and academic partners have made significant in advancing the technologies on the path to validation and eventually commercialization. Notable improvements were reported and independently verified for the performance and costs of fuel cells, the capacity of on-board hydrogen storage, and hydrogen fueling technology.
Supported by these frameworks and implementation plans, senior decisionmakers face choices as they reconcile and integrate these and other accomplishments into a path forward for an alternatively fueled America. One important task will be to prioritize and, in some cases, harmonize all of the short, medium and long-term milestones this transition involves and then achieve them. However, this is not solely a Federal responsibility. State, local and private sector stakeholders are key to realizing this fundamental change in American mobility. Accomplishing this transition will be no less impressive than building a transcontinental railroad or the Interstate highway system.
These choices include:
- Innovations to increase the supply, efficiency, range and cost competitiveness of fuel cell vehicles,
and reduce the cost of producing hydrogen from domestic resources using green production methods.
- Public & private sector organizational
- Land use and station siting guidance to ensure the safe and efficient development of this new
- Public education and outreach to increase awareness, motivate key stakeholders, and facilitate the acceptance of the new technology.
- Commercial sector
- Market development and deployment including policy decisions about whether implementation should focus on growing urban and regional markets where there is likely to be strong consumer demand or on a national network so that vehicles can operate regardless of location.
- Partnerships to bring together the stakeholders whose collaboration is essential to the deployment of hydrogen vehicles and a hydrogen infrastructure, i.e., Federal , State , and local government, automakers, fuel providers, electricity producers, other relevant industries, academia, environmental groups, and the public.
- Safety codes & standards
- Universally accepted requirements to establish the appropriate safety, quality and consumer protection also be provided to match fossil fuel standards including the safety of compressed hydrogen (CH2) and liquid hydrogen (LH2) fueled vehicles and subsystems, of fueling infrastructure
and of fueling interfaces, as well as safe integration and compatibility with mixed fleet and fuels
- Emergency response training to provide the knowledge and tools first responders will need to
deal with the different dangers hydrogen presents as well as provide the regulatory requirements needed to address the new technologies and innovations this transition will generate.
- Sustained commitment
- Programs and incentives to address the expected cost differentials between hydrogen vehicles and conventional vehicles during the transition period. Some of these activities should be coordinated with the safety, codes and standards activities in order to accelerate the insurance industry's
adoption of comparable rate structures and procedures.