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Market Transformation

NREL's market transformation activities address technical and non-technical barriers to the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to ensure that laboratory advances can be realized in the marketplace. Projects focus on deploying hydrogen and fuel cells in key early markets—specialty vehicles, backup and remote power, portable power, and primary power for critical applications such as hospitals or data centers—and renewable hydrogen production technologies.

Early Market Deployments

Strategic early market deployments can accelerate the market penetration of hydrogen and fuel cells. A modest number of new orders can significantly reduce costs through economies of scale.

Early market sales stimulate further market activity by:

  • Supporting the growth of a domestic industry
  • Overcoming logistical and other non-technical challenges associated with the adoption of a new technology
  • Establishing key infrastructure elements essential for future market growth
  • Providing real-world operation and performance data and lessons learned that can be used to validate the benefits of the technology.

Project Goals

NREL's hydrogen and fuel cell market transformation team works to:

  • Identify opportunities for fuel cell purchases by federal agencies and provide technical assistance to potential fuel cell demonstration and deployment sites
  • Develop techno-economic assessment tools, deployment tools, and business cases for various fuel cell applications
  • Collect and evaluate data from deployment projects to verify the business cases for early market fuel cell systems, assess the performance of these integrated systems, and document lessons learned
  • Identify, analyze, and test potential new early markets for fuel cells
  • Develop public reports and web-based data tools to inform potential customers of the benefits of integrated hydrogen and fuel cell systems
  • Provide analysis to support potential infrastructure and vehicle deployments
  • Demonstrate fuel cell system performance in early market applications—such as grid support and building peak shaving—using simulation and hardware-in-the-loop capabilities at NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility.


The following documents provide more information about NREL's hydrogen and fuel cell market transformation activities and findings.

Contact: Michael Ulsh, 303-275-3842