Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth; however, it does not exist in a pure form. Hydrogen is produced from a variety of energy resources including coal, oil, natural gas, agricultural products (biomass), water, wind, and solar energy. With North Dakota’s incredible resources of coal, oil, agricultural products, and wind energy, it is poised to be a significant provider of hydrogen.

The hydrogen economy has the ability to significantly decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, while at the same time decreasing the environmental impact of energy technologies. A true hydrogen economy requires both inexpensive, plentiful sources of hydrogen as well as advanced technologies for using the hydrogen. The University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) is leading the way in developing and demonstrating both hydrogen production and hydrogen utilization technologies. These technology advances are providing real hydrogen opportunities today that will pave the way for the hydrogen economy.

Since the National Center for Hydrogen Technology® (NCHT®) was formed in the Fall of 2004, the EERC has received contracts totaling more than $60 million in hydrogen and hydrogen-related funded projects with more than 85 partners. This funding portfolio centers around the cornerstone funding provided through the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), championed by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan. The NCHT combines 60 years of expertise in hydrogen systems and is taking a lead role in developing, in concert with industry and government partners, all aspects of the hydrogen economy.