The National Academies

The National Academies: What You Need To Know About Energy

What You Need To Know About Energy

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies—A Focus on Hydrogen (2008)

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could dramatically reduce the nation’s dependence on imported oil and limit U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide. Research toward this end has made impressive progress over the past several years. Yet widespread use of hydrogen-fueled vehicles will require further technological developments, an adequate supply of hydrogen, and the commercialization of new automotive manufacturing technologies. In the 2005 Energy Policy Act, Congress directed DOE to request the NRC to estimate the maximum practicable number of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that could be deployed in the United States by 2020; determine the public and private resources and government actions needed to reach that goal; and assess the implications for oil consumption and CO2 emissions. This report presents the NRC’s findings and includes a discussion of the current status of hydrogen technology, alternative technologies, the role of stationary electric power, and the potential reduction of oil use and CO2 emissions that could be expected. Also included are a budget roadmap, analyses of actions to promote hydrogen vehicles, and advantages and disadvantages of this transition.

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