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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Technical and Economic Studies of Regional Transition Strategies Toward Widespread Use of Hydrogen Energy


The current lack of an extensive (H2) infrastructure is often cited as a serious barrier to the introduction of H2 as an energy carrier, and to the commercialization of technologies such as H2 vehicles. Because H2 can be made at a wide range of scales (from household to large city) and from a variety of primary sources (fossil, renewable and nuclear), there are many possible pathways for producing and distributing H2 to users. The DOE has identified the need to find viable transition strategies toward widespread use of H2.

In this work, we developed and applied simulation tools to evaluate alternative pathways toward widespread use of H2 under various demand scenarios and regional conditions. Geographic information system (GIS) data are utilized as input to analysis, and to visualize results. The use of mathematical programming or other methods to screen the large design space of possible transition pathways for optimum solutions is employed. Using these techniques we carried out a series of regional case studies for H2 infrastructure development. The goal is to understand which factors are most important in finding viable transition strategies under different regional conditions and to develop rules of thumb for future H2 infrastructure development.

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