Developing a Spatial Roadmap for Near- and Long-Term Hydrogen Planning

Research Team: Lew Fulton (lead), Chris Yang, Alan Jenn, Tri Dev Acharya, Daniel Coffee, and David Wong

UC Campus(es): UC Davis, UCLA

Problem Statement: California is moving toward adopting hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and is building stations to support these new vehicles. It is also beginning to work on developing hydrogen systems to support this developing industry and other stationary sources of demand for hydrogen. However, there are major uncertainties in how hydrogen supply and distribution systems can and should develop. Hydrogen for various transportation modes, industries, and buildings can be produced and transported in a number of ways, so developing the full system is complex and needs detailed study and planning. Few studies for California have laid out a full pathway (or set of pathway options), nor have any of these taken a detailed spatial approach. More focus is needed on the spatial aspects of vehicle and system development planning, visioning, and roadmapping taking into account both near-term steps (e.g., to 2030) and long-term vision and context (e.g., system targets and goals out to 2040 and beyond). In addition, cross-cutting work is needed on hydrogen system impacts on workforce and equity.

Project Description: This project will build on existing efforts at UC Davis and other campuses, and among stakeholders and agencies, to develop tools and scenarios for a spatial roadmapping effort for near- and long-term hydrogen planning. It will build on existing studies that are focused on connecting a range of potential demand points (e.g., stations and stationary end uses) with hydrogen production and distribution system components. It is intended to respond to questions that arise over the next two years as the state develops initiatives such as a hydrogen hub proposal. UC Davis has already developed a relevant set of analytical tools, including three models that respectively provide a spatial characterization of hydrogen demand, supply, and supply-chain components across California and (in terms of potential hydrogen supply) the western half of the United States. This system-of-models will be used to compare specific hydrogen system designs and strategies, including some that are light-duty vehicle-led, heavy-duty vehicle-led, and industry-led. Central to this project will be the various roles of these end use sectors in leading the development of a hydrogen system, and how the system design and buildout varies depending on the role each plays and other physical design aspects. This project will also examine how different hydrogen system rollout strategies affect job creation and the workforce development.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $52,000