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Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Research & Development

Argonne researcher Deborah Myers demonstrates the fuel cell fixture created to allow in situ X-ray study of transition metals
Argonne researcher Deborah Myers demonstrates the fuel cell test fixture created to allow in situ X-ray study of transition metals.

Fuel Cells: Clean, Efficient Power Sources

Fuel cells have been identified as clean, efficient power sources for automotive, stationary and portable power applications by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Program.

Fuel cells are being tested and their use demonstrated in light-duty vehicles (passenger cars), heavy-duty vehicles (buses), industrial/commercial applications (combined heat and power for hotels, fork-lift trucks, airport ground vehicles, power for cellular telephone towers) and consumer applications (residential combined heat and power, cellular telephones, lap-top computers).

While these fuel cell-powered devices and systems have reached a certain state of technical maturity, significant additional development is still needed in fuel cell materials and manufacturing processes, and in the technologies for hydrogen production and automotive hydrogen storage, to make these systems cost effective, durable and commercially viable in the marketplace.

Argonne National Laboratory is an active participant in DOE’s hydrogen and fuel cell research program. The Laboratory is conducting research in hydrogen production and storage, fuel cell materials and systems, and in fuel cell testing and evaluation

Hydrogen Production and Storage Research for Automotive Applications

Fuel cells for automotive applications will need a reliable, inexpensive source of hydrogen. Hydrogen storage materials and technologies will need to provide enough capability and capacity to enable the same driving range between refueling as a conventional gasoline vehicle. Argonne’s research efforts focus on:

  • Hydrogen production
  • Hydrogen quality
  • Materials for hydrogen storage
  • Hydrogen storage systems design, configuration and analysis

Fuel Cell Research and Development

Research in fuel cell materials and systems is needed to reduce their cost and to increase their durability. In addition, fuel cell systems must be designed and configured to meet the power, energy and efficiency requirements of the specific applications’ duty cycle, whether that be an automotive driving cycle or a residential/commercial heat and power demand schedule. Argonne’s research efforts focus on:

  • Polymer electrolyte fuel cells
    • Electrocatalysts
    • Membrane-electrode assemblies
    • Bipolar plates
  • Solid oxide fuel cells
  • Fuel cell systems modeling and analysis

Fuel Cell Testing: Fuel Cell Test Facility

As fuel cell technologies evolve, there is a great need for independent, standardized testing and evaluation capabilities. Argonne’s Fuel Cell Test Facility  offers the equipment and expertise to conduct unbiased analyses of fuel cells for stationary and transportation applications. With the capability to test specific component technologies on up through fully integrated fuel cell systems that incorporate their own fuel processing and air supply subsystems, the Fuel Cell Test Facility is a tremendous resource for fuel cell developers, fuel cell users, original equipment manufacturers and government and private agencies.

Collaborative Work

Argonne regularly applies its expertise to projects sponsored by non-DOE organizations. These include materials, processes and systems development for, or in collaboration with, public and private organizations. In addition, Argonne works collaboratively with universities on technical research, and with leading manufacturers to develop new technologies and bring viable technologies to market. For more information on technical research opportunities, contact Romesh Kumar. For more information on technology transfer, contact Jeff Chamberlain.

Student Opportunities

Many opportunities exist for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to contribute to hydrogen and fuel cell research efforts. University faculty and faculty/student teams can also participate in ongoing projects. For more information on student and faculty internships, visit the Division of Educational Programs (DEP) at


This work is funded by the Fuel Cell Technologies Program of the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.




Romesh Kumar

Technology Transfer

Jeff Chamberlain


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