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The IEA provides support for international collaboration on energy technology R&D, deployment and information dissemination. These groups function within a framework created by the IEA - the International Framework for International Energy Technology Collaboration. The views, findings and publications of these international groups (formally called Implementing Agreements) do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the IEA Secretariat or of all its individual member countries. OECD Member countries, autonomous OECD non-member countries, intergovernmental organisations, non-governmental organisations and private sector entities may participate. For more information, see our Technology Agreements page.


Hydrogen could well become the major component of clean sustainable energy systems in the longer term. It is relevant to all of the energy sectors - transportation, buildings, utilities, and industry. Hydrogen can provide storage options for intermittent renewable technologies such as solar and wind, and, when combined with emerging decarbonisation technologies, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from continued fossil fuel utilisation. The vision of the IEA Implementing Agreement on Hydrogen Production and Utilisation is one of clean sustainable energy supply of global proportions that plays a key role in all sectors of the economy. To achieve this vision, the work of the Agreement is directed towards the development of advanced technologies, including direct solar production systems and low-temperature metal hydrides and room-temperature carbon nanostructures for storage. Hydrogen can be produced directly from sunlight and water by biological organisms and using semiconductor-based systems similar to photovoltaics. Hydrogen can also be produced indirectly via thermal processing of biomass or fossil fuels. Global environmental concerns are leading to the development of advanced processes to integrate sequestration with known reforming, gasification, and partial oxidation technologies for carbonaceous fuels. These production technologies have the potential to produce essentially unlimited quantities of hydrogen in a sustainable manner. Storage of hydrogen is an important area for international co-operative research and development, particularly when considering transportation as a major user and the need for efficient energy storage for intermittent renewable power systems. Although compressed gas and liquid hydrogen storage systems have been used in vehicle demonstrations world-wide, the issues of safety, capacity, and energy consumption have resulted in a broadening of the storage possibilities to include metal hydrides and carbon nanostructures. Stationary storage systems that are high efficiency with quick response times will be important for incorporating large amounts of intermittent solar and wind power into the grid as base load power. Through the Hydrogen Implementing Agreement, a database of metal hydride material properties has been produced to aid in the development of this important storage technology. http://hydpark.ca.sandia.gov Achieving the potential benefits of a hydrogen system requires careful integration of production, storage and end-use components with minimised cost and maximised efficiency, and a strong understanding of environmental impacts and opportunities. System models combined with detailed life cycle assessments provide the platform for standardised comparisons of energy systems for specific applications. Individual component models form the framework by which these system designs can be formulated and evaluated.

Signatories : Australia | Canada | Denmark | Finland | France | Germany | Greece | Iceland | Israel | Italy | Japan | Korea, Republic of | Lithuania | Netherlands | New Zealand | Norway | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey | United Kingdom | United States | Commission of the European Union | United Nations Industrial Development Organsiation (UNIDO) | International Association for Hydrogen Safety | Netherlands |
For more information: http://www.ieahia.org

Current Projects (Annexes)

Task 18: Integrated Systems Evaluation
The overall goal of Annex 18 is to provide information about hydrogen integration into society around the world. Specific objectives are to: - Provide information, data and analysis to the Task members and the hydrogen community in general, - Use modeling and analysis tools to evaluate hydrogen demonstration projects, and to provide input into a joint Implementing Agreement study of Hydrogen Resources: "Where will the hydrogen come from?" The Annex has two major subtasks: Subtask A: "Information base" Development, and Subtask B: Demonstration Project Evaluation.


Task 20: Hydrogen from Waterphotolysis
IEA HIA Task 20 is the world's prime address for expertise in photoelectrochemical (PEC) watersplitting. At its inception, Task 20 collaborators numbered 23 expert R&D groups from eight (8) countries. Over the life of the task, the research attracted the cooperation of other international expert groups and countries interested in materials development and systems design issues related to PEC water-splitting. IEA HIA's international teams have investigated solar-to-production since 1979. Task 14, immediate predecessor to Task 20, published some encouraging findings from its R&D on photoelectolytic technology. This dedicatd international efort laid the groundwork for Task 20. A final report will be published in early 2008. Plans are underway for a successor task that will focus on the significant materials challenges associated with achieving target efficiency levels. The new materials work is expected to include theoretical modeling (density functional theory - DFT) from materials synthesis, as well as characterization and co-catalysis expertise.


Task 22: Fundamental and Applied Hydrogen Storage Materials
Task 22 addresses hydrogen storage in solid materials. Hydrogen storage is considered by many to be the greatest technological barrier to widespread introduction and use of hydrogen in global energy systems. Currently, no hydrogen storage system, including pressurised and liquefied hydrogen and hydrogen stored in solid compounds known, satisfies international targets for on-board hydrogen storage in mobile applications. This challenge requires new materials and solutions, and not simple, incremental improvements in current technologies. The following classes of materials are included: - Reversible metal hydrides - Regenerative hydrogen storage materials (chemical hydrides) - Nanoporous materials - Rechargeable organic liquids and solid In addition, safety aspects of hydrogen storage in solid materials are also covered. Task 22 is built on a broad spectrum of the following project types: - Experimental - Engineering - Theoretical - Modelling The projects are divided into three categories: Hydride (H), Nanoporous (N) and combined Hydride and Nanoporous (HN). A project plan is prepared for each project. At present, TAsk 22 consists of 50 R&D projects lead by project leaders from the participating countries. Most involve international collaboration, which is strongly encouraged. The projects are divided into three categories: Hydride (H), Nanoporous (N) and combined Hydride and Nanoporous (HN).


Task 23: Small-Scale Reformers for on-Site Hydrogen Supply (SSR for Hydrogen)
Task 23 has three subtasks, which are listed and described below. Subtask 1 - Harmonised Industrialisation: The main objective of this subtask is to develop the understanding necessary for a harmonised approach to reformer capacity. Subtask 1 will discuss and provide recommendations on the type of conversion technology required to achieve industrialisation. It will study how the different conversion technologies will influence sizing, capacity, and footprint. It will also identify the physical limitations and boundary conditions due to feedstock, pressure, feed quality, etc. Approval issues and customer requirements will also be identified. Subtask 2 - Sustainability and Renewable Sources (Subtask Leader: Corfitz Nelsson, SGC) The main objective of this subtask is to foster understanding of a sustainable on-site hydrogen production supply based on small-scale reformer technology. The approach is to develop systems for fuel diversifaction and use of renewables. In addition, this subtask will address management of on-site emissions. Subtask 3 - Market Studies (Subtask Leader: Isamu Yasada, Tokoyo Gas) The objective of this subtask is to facilitate and support market development by dissemination of technology information. This subtask intends to define three cases with different market characteristics to be used as the basis of a market study. Possible cases include Japan, Northern Europe and part of the U.S.


TAsk 24: Wind Energy and Hydrogen Integration
Task 24 has four subtasks, which are listed and described below: Subtask A - State of the Art Subtask A will conduct an in-depth review of the current state of the art in wind turbines, electrolysers, and intermediate equipment, as well as a survey of market and electrical system regulation. Subtask B - Needed Improvements & System Integration Technology Development on Main Equipment and System Integration Concepts This subtask is focused on two main components for hydrogen production, the wind turbine and the electrolyzer, includng the intermediate components. The subtask goal is to develop proper specifications. To do so, it must consider the following issues: - The dynamics of power electronics and control (system integration) equipment. - Electrolyzer durability under a very dynamic workload - Development of specific wind turbines adapted for hydrogen production. Subtask C - Business Concept Development Subtask C will deal with the following issues: - Economic assessment and forecast of market potential with a detailed hydrogen production cost study of different concepts wtihin representative market - Conceptual development and validation of site plans that incorporates logistics and hydrogen use differentiated by applications. Two applications will receive special consideration: hydrogen as a transportation fuel and on-site conversion of hydrogen to electricity for grid balancing - Cross-cutting issues, including social and environmental acceptability of increasing wind power capacity devoted to hydrogen production; and market regulations affecting hydrogen production using wind power. Subtask D - Applications, Emphasis on Wind Energy Management This subtask will consider near-term applications for the wind-generated hydrogen with a special focus on one of the main application specified in Subtask C, wind energy management within the wind and hydrogen full integration concept. An analysis similar to those underaken in tasks A to C will be performed for relevant components not previously taken into account. These components include hydrogen to electricity converters such as fuel cells, internal combustion engines and gas turbines.


Task 25: High Temperature Production of Hydrogen
Task 25 research will focus on three process families: steam electrolysis; thermochemical cycles (including pure and hybrid thermochemical processes); and innovative direct water splitting. Task 25 will have four subtasks, which are listed and described below: Subtask A - Scientific, Technological Review and Analysis of Temperature Processes and the State of the Art (Subtask Leader: Christian Sattler, DLR) Development of summary sheets describing every process using the same evaluation method presentation format. This will include worldwide mapping and technical review of the high temperature process studies and development, database (relevant papers, books and websites). Subtask B - Development of a Methodology Approach and Integration of HTPs Subtask will define the main criteria for integration of HTPs into the hydrogen chain, including the interface and primary energy source. It will define and apply a methodology and multi-criteria approach to assess and compare the different HTPs. Subtask B will focus on proving tools designed to pilot the technological choices, making it possible to meet the increasing demand on the hydrogen energy vector. Subtask C - Establishment of Benchmarks, Recommendations for HTP R&D and Future Industrial Deployment Subtask C will identify the most promising technologies and recommendations for R&D needs based on the Subtask A review. It will develop studies and recommendations to meet the needs in large future facilities and/or demonstration programs required to facilitate accelerated introduction of HTPs. Subtask D - Coordination and Links with Other International Organisations: Dissemination of Information (Subtask Leader and Operating Agent: Gille Rodriguez, CEA) Subtask D will focus on developing and ensuring coherence between this task and other projects and groups. It will also facilitate exchanges and utilisation of experimental facilities.


Task 26: Advanced Material for Hydrogen WaterPhotolysis
Photoelectrochemical (PEC) hydrogen production, using sunlight to directly split water, is one of the paramount enabling technologies for a future where hydrogen is widely deployed as an energy carrier. The “traditional” semiconductor-based PEC material systems studied to date, in particular the simple metal oxides such as TiO2, WO3 and Fe2O3, however, have been unable to meet all the performance, durability and cost requirements for practical hydrogen production. Technology enabling breakthroughs are needed in the development of new, advanced materials systems. Toward this end, the IEA Hydrogen Implementation Agreement Annex-26, working in close conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Working Group on PEC Hydrogen Production”, is bringing together international experts in analysis, theory, synthesis and characterization from the academic, industry and national laboratory research sectors across the world, with exciting and important results on several fronts.


Task 27: Near-Market Routes to Hydrogen by Co-utilisation of Biomass as a Renewable Energy Source With Fossil Fuels
The overall objective of Task 27 is to advance the development of hydrogen production based on renewable sources in the market place, focusing on biomass and on opportunities of interest for industrial application. The specific objectives are to - Identify and evaluate the most attractive and realistic process pathways towards a large-scale demonstration of biomass co-gasification with fossil fuels; - Quantify the potential for a renewable-based H2 supply chain based on upgrading biomass waste near source into a tradable intermediate (a biomass carrier), its commercial transport and use in centralised gasification plants; - Evaluate the most attractive way of utilising stand-alone biomass gasification technology in near-to-medium term H2 markets; - Develop and verify a Roadmap for the market introduction of biomass-based routes to H2 These objectives form the basis for the four subtasks in Task 27, which will have subtask leaders from industry and technology institutes.


Task 29: Distibuted and Community Hydrogen
The purpose of this Task is to further the optimisation and replication of green hydrogen within distributed and community energy systems. This will be accomplished by identifying situations where the use of hydrogen is appropriate and assessing the technical, environmental, economic and social benefits of such systems. Analysis will include: Cost benefit analysis; Business case and market research; Identification of technical benefits and gaps; Materials for education and awareness raising; Material for planners and regulatory authorities to help them facilitate incorporating hydrogen systems within energy networks. This analysis will contribute to the foundation for commercialisation efforts. It will also favour economic development through new job creation.


Task 30: Global Hydrogen Systems Analysis
The goal of Task 30 is to perform analysis to enable informed decisions that lead to sustainable clean energy systems. The specific objectives: Build up a group analytical studies that answer expertise within the Hydrogen Implementing Agreement To prepare detailed analytical studies that answer questions with respect to supply, demand, emissions and costs Collaborate with the IEA HQ in order to support the IEA (WEO and ETP) with technical and economical data


Task 31: Hydrogen Safety