Road 2 -- Infrastructure Development and Deployment

Road 2 -- Infrastructure Development and Deployment

Infrastructure is the backbone of the Nation's transportation system. It includes the highways used by automobiles, trucks, and buses; the rail lines used by passenger and freight trains; the inland and coastal waterways; as well as long-haul and local distribution pipelines. It also includes the National Airspace System (NAS) used by private and commercial airplanes. Essential components of the Nation's transportation system include the collection of maintenance and refueling facilities used by individual vehicles, and the pipeline and energy transportation and distribution infrastructure.

For the hydrogen economy, there are several major infrastructure issues. First is the consideration of sufficient capacity of the appropriate type to move the hydrogen fuel from source to destination. The second issue is the feasibility and logistics of transitioning approximately 200,000 gasoline and diesel fueling stations to stations that dispense hydrogen fuel; particularly those that support DOT-funded operations such as public transit facilities. Finally, DOT will ensure that certain elements of DOT operations can transition to the use of hydrogen. In particular, DOT intends to work toward using hydrogen for the FAA's power requirements for NAS.

Anticipated Long-Term Outcomes

The long-term outcome for Road 2 is the deployment of the infrastructure needed for hydrogen use by the Nation's transportation and power generation system. This includes the network of hydrogen refueling stations and the entire pipeline infrastructure to support them: the transmission pipelines outside production facilities to the pumping and storage facilities, from there to the distribution system, and finally to the point of delivery. It also includes other types of transportation to move the raw materials for hydrogen production, and hydrogen itself. It additionally includes the integration of fuel cell power into NAS facilities.

Challenges and Requirements

Comprehensive research and other activities will be conducted by all operating administrations to integrate hydrogen infrastructure into their respective transportation modes. Once this occurs, these operating administrations will incorporate hydrogen, including the enforcement of regulations, into the transportation modes under their jurisdiction. The major challenge in developing the infrastructure for hydrogen is to accomplish this transition in a seamless, cost-effective manner so that all sectors of the transportation system function without interruption and adverse impact to the economy.

A major concern for the use of hydrogen as a fuel is the need for new operating procedures for the refueling and maintenance of vehicles. Hydrogen fuel systems pose new challenges for leak detection and mitigation, damage prevention, and safety. New technologies and procedures culminating in best practices need to be established. All DOT hydrogen activity will focus on risk mitigation, as well as the integrity of the delivery and infrastructure systems. This focus promotes safety, security, operability, and public confidence.

Pathways, Projects, and Products

An activities flow chart for Road 2 (Figure 2) illustrates the major DOT-wide projects and products, and how they relate to each other and the other Roads. The major activities in Road 2 are the deployment and operation of hydrogen pipelines, hydrogen transport systems, and the deployment of hydrogen refueling and maintenance infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles.

The safety and physical security of the system, including vehicles and pipelines, is an integral aspect of deployment that must be included from the beginning research stages through the development and demonstration phases, and on into deployment. Each of the operating administrations needs to evaluate the risks to, and methods for, achieving security. Finally, these methods and technologies will need integration into the systems for which DOT is responsible.

Specific areas of concern include the communication equipment and protocols at the interface between transport and storage systems; systems integrity, particularly with seal materials degradation; and the efficacy and reliability of detection and containment materials. Ongoing RDD&D is seeking to address identified gaps in these infrastructure safety technologies. The end results will support codes, standards, and regulatory development (Road 1) and provide the foundation for full-scale, long-term deployment of a hydrogen infrastructure using test-proven technologies and protocols.

Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA)

To support expanded hydrogen use for vehicles, RITA will analyze various delivery concepts to assess their ability to deliver large quantities of hydrogen consistently and reliably. Research and data analyses will be conducted, with support from DOE's National Laboratories, to evaluate advanced container designs and develop in-service inspection technologies for quality assurance.

Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

PHMSA is responsible for the safety and security of hazardous materials in commercial transport by all modes, including pipelines. For hydrogen transmission and distribution pipelines, this is accomplished through the implementation of risk management and integrity plans. PHMSA coordinates this effort with infrastructure owners (e.g., pipeline and merchant hydrogen bulk transport), operators, and non-Federal agencies.

PHMSA will also develop safety and inspection criteria for the interface between fuel delivery and bulk storage systems. The existing pipeline system undergoes frequent in-field inspections and repairs. This is because unscheduled system maintenance and failures pose a risk to the safety and operability of the transport network. The challenge for effective management is to incorporate known operational factors and shortcomings into up-front RDD&D.

Other DOT Administrations

DOT's operating administrations have a responsibility to make sure that taxpayer funded investments in the Nation's transportation infrastructure are protected. This includes the need to make sure infrastructure is safe and secure. To this end, DOT's hydrogen-fueled transportation strategy highlights coordination with DOE, EPA, DoD, and other public and private entities conducting demonstrations to reflect DOT's safety perspective. These efforts will develop data to support Road 1 activities.

For example, NHTSA will evaluate the safe interface between the fuel dispenser and road vehicle. Although DOT does not regulate fuel dispensers, the interface between the dispenser and vehicle must have an appropriate level of safety and reliability. The design for this interface needs to be based on accurate knowledge of the independent behavior of each of the two systems, as well as how they work together.

As another example, FTA and MARAD invest in fueling and maintenance infrastructure for transit and marine fleets, respectively. These DOT-funded modes can be effective early adopters of advanced and emerging propulsion system technologies, and serve as a foundation for potential widespread deployment and use by the public. Indeed, much of the near-term infrastructure is integrated into Road 4: Medium- and Heavy-duty Vehicle Development, Demonstration, and Deployment. This integration is illustrated in Figures 10 and 11.


The timeframe for infrastructure demonstration and deployment begins in FY 2005 and extends to FY 2020 and beyond. Early infrastructure is needed to support demonstrations and validate technology for public deployment. Initial RDD&D that supports safety codes and standards (Road 1) will also support infrastructure development and deployment (Road 2) by approximately FY 2010.


Close coordination between the regulatory agencies, operators, and manufacturers is necessary at the physical interfaces among production, transport, and storage segments. In particular, there are many possible delivery, storage, and distribution options. Some of these are illustrated in Figures 3a-c which outline three different approaches to this part of the hydrogen infrastructure. For each of these, there is a different primary production and transportation pathway. In each figure, the DOT regulated components are highlighted.