The breadth and coverage of analytical expertise in the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are unique assets that underpin IEA efforts to support innovation for energy security, economic growth and environmental protection. The 38 TCPs operating today involve about 6 000 experts from government, industry and research organisations in more than 50 countries1.

Hydrogen TCP


Exploring pathways for fuel cell vehicles with hydrogen 

The Hydrogen TCP aims to accelerate deployment and use of hydrogen technologies by carrying out and co-ordinating collaborative activities of analysis, applied research and communication. Recent work indicates that the availability of widespread hydrogen delivery infrastructure is of crucial importance and it should be based on national, regional and local conditions. 

Hydrogen refuelling stations worldwide.*

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) powered by hydrogen are approaching commercialisation. Yet further development of large-scale hydrogen delivery infrastructure is needed. While hydrogen refuelling stations have grown eightfold since 2004, better understanding of the technical and economic viability of such refuelling points aid to further commercialise FCEVs.

For these reasons the Hydrogen TCP set out to develop a common knowledge base on concepts and components for the large-scale delivery of hydrogen; evaluate delivery infrastructure pathways and scenarios; identify knowledge gaps with regards to hydrogen deployment strategies; and explore potential synergies with storage applications for variable renewable energy sources.

Activities of this important four-year study completed in 2014 comprise data collection, comprehensive overviews of the eight countries participating in the project, analysis and scenarios. An important element of the study involved an inventory (mapping) of existing hydrogen refuelling stations worldwide, including an evaluation of the technical feasibility, capacity and functional requirements of each. While some 250 hydrogen refuelling stations exist worldwide, the majority of these are found in Europe (40%) and are located on industrial sites and at university pilot projects; therefore, they are not accessible to the general public.

Significant differences were noted in the delivery options available in each country. On site-reforming (converting natural gas to hydrogen) is virtually absent in Europe but prevalent in Asia. While compressed hydrogen-dispensing techniques are used in Europe, Asia and North America, on-site reforming is more common in North America.

Understanding the costs associated with integrating the hydrogen refuelling stations will enable further technology deployment. The study set guidelines and definitions of the costs of equipment and of integrating the equipment into the service station. Further analysis of the cost of distribution networks and cash flows is needed. Finally, the study explored options for combining widespread hydrogen refuelling stations with renewable sources.

Designed for industries and policy makers, the preliminary findings highlight that all hydrogen delivery options are feasible, yet the most practical and economic options will depend on national, regional and local circumstances. In addition, the standardisation of regulations, codes and standards is the key to driving down hydrogen refuelling system integration and component costs. The insights and experiences gained are being compiled into the report, Large-Scale Hydrogen Delivery Infrastructure: Final Report.

* Graph adapted from data provided by the Hydrogen TCP


  • Bio-hydrogen
  • Distributed and community hydrogen
  • Fundamental and applied hydrogen storage materials deployment
  • Global hydrogen systems analysis
  • Hydrogen-based energy storage
  • Hydrogen safety
  • Local hydrogen supply for energy applications
  • Near-term market routes to hydrogen
  • Production of hydrogen from renewables
  • Water photolysis


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Contracting Parties   18 4  1
Sponsors  4 -  -

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