TABLE 7.5 Quantities Related to Infrastructure Estimates for the Hydrogen Success (Case 1) Scenario





Hydrogen demand (tonnes per day)




Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles served annually (% of total light-duty fleet)

1.8 million


61 million


219 million


Consumption of feedstocks for hydrogen production (exajoules per year):




Natural gas












CO2 sequestered (million tonnes per year)




(Case 1) totals nearly $3 billion in 2020, and then climbs to $139 billion in 2035 and $415 billion in 2050. Although the estimated investment to build out the hydrogen infrastructure is clearly large, the committee’s analysis, as explained in the pages that follow, assumes that the vast majority of the investment required will be made by industry because it is economically attractive to do so, and only a modest fraction will require government support. Table 7.5 reports several additional quantities related to these infrastructure projections, including numbers of vehicles served, amounts of hydrogen produced, energy feedstocks used, and CO2 sequestered from central-station hydrogen production.

Total Annual Expenditures

Figure 7.1 shows the total annual expenditures involved for the purchase of fuel cell vehicles and the production of hydrogen. The deployment of HFCVs starts with 1,000 vehicles in 2012, increasing to commercial levels of 50,000 per year in 2015, 750,000 per year in 2020, and 1.5 million per year in 2023—the breakeven year, after which the HFCV market is self-sustaining in the Hydrogen Success scenario. During this period the unit price per vehicle falls from slightly more than $200,000 in 2012 to just over $27,000 in 2023, as indicated in Chapter 6. The resulting total annual expenditures for the 5.5 million vehicles deployed by 2023 are shown in Figure 7.1, along with the average per-vehicle price ($30,000), the additional capital expenditures for hydrogen supply infrastructure, and the annual O&M costs of hydrogen production (mainly for natural gas feedstock).

The total annual expenditures for vehicles and hydrogen supply in Figure 7.1 increase from about $300 million in 2012 to $46 billion in 2023, with the cumulative expenditure over the transition period reaching $184 billion in 2023. Most of that amount (91 percent) is for the purchase of fuel cell vehicles. The remaining 9 percent ($16 billion) is for hydrogen supply, divided about equally between the capital costs of hydrogen infrastructure and the O&M costs for hydrogen production. The annual vehicle costs shown here reflect all of the capital and O&M cost elements shown in Table 7.3. Some of those elements, however (such as the capital investment for fuel cell production facilities), are reflected only implicitly as part of the per-vehicle price estimates used here. A more detailed budget roadmap showing the breakdown of estimated annual expenditures for all of the individual cost elements in Table 7.3 (e.g., production facilities, equipment, and raw materials over the transition period) is well beyond the scope of the present analysis.

Note that since the budget roadmap of Figure 7.1 shows

FIGURE 7.1 Total annual expenditures for vehicles and hydrogen supply for transition to the breakeven year for the Hydrogen Success case, excluding RD&D costs. The cumulative cost, shared by government and industry, totals $184 billion, of which 91 percent is the cost of fuel cell vehicles and 9 percent is the cost of hydrogen supply (about half for infrastructure costs and half for additional operating costs, mainly natural gas feedstock).

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement