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International Partnerships

Bilateral and multilateral hydrogen and fuel cell technology R&D cooperation and collaboration will be a central tool in advancing hydrogen and fuel cells.

Two key multilateral international partnerships that are facilitating cooperative R&D efforts are:

International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE)

At the April 2003 International Energy Agency Ministerial, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham called for the establishment of the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cels in the Economy to serve as a mechanism to organize and implement effective, efficient, and focused international research, development, demonstration and commercial utilization activities related to hydrogen energy technologies. It also provides a forum for advancing policies, and international codes and standards that can accelerate advancement of hydrogen and fuel cells. The ultimate goal of the IPHE will be to enable Partner countries' consumers to have by 2020 the practical option of purchasing a competitively priced hydrogen-powered vehicle that can be refueled conveniently.

IPHE Member Countries

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • European Commission
  • France
  • Germany
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

In 2005, the first ten projects endorsed by the IPHE Steering Committee were announced, a product of the IPHE Implementation — Liaison Committee led by Germany and Iceland. They cover a broad range of topics, including fuel cell development, hydrogen safety, the use of natural gas as a catalyst, and hydrogen production using solar energy. All projects are collaborative in nature with multiple IPHE members as sponsors. Results and lessons learned from the projects will be disseminated to all IPHE members and will be made available to the public. This selection is the first international recognition provided to collaborative research projects on hydrogen and fuel cell development. A public announcement from the IPHE provides details and a description of the projects.

International Energy Agency (IEA)

The International Energy Agency (IEA) was established in 1974, following the first oil crisis, for the purpose of facilitating collaborations for the economic development, energy security, environmental protection, and well-being of its members and of the world as a whole. For more than 20 years, the IEA has supported collaborative activities focused on the advancement of hydrogen technologies.

The U.S. has participated in several IEA Implementing Agreements (international collaboration agreements) related to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies over the past two decades. A leading role is played by the Implementing Agreements on Hydrogen and Advanced Fuel Cells, while other Implementing Agreements (Advanced Motor Fuels, Advanced Materials for Transportation, Bioenergy, the Greenhouse Gases R&D Program and the Clean Coal Centre) provide contributions on specific topics important for launching hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

IEA Hydrogen Implementing Agreement

The IEA Hydrogen Program has been in existence for more than 25 years for the purpose of advancing hydrogen technologies and accelerating hydrogen's acceptance and widespread utilization. The goal of the Hydrogen Program is to accelerate hydrogen implementation and widespread utilization by facilitating, coordinating and maintaining innovative research, development and demonstration activities, through international cooperation and information exchange. Past collaborations have been in the areas of Thermochemical Production, High Temperature Reactors, Electrolysis, Storage, Safety, and Markets. Current activities are summarized in the table below.

Task Annex Objective Duration
15 Photobiological Production To advance the basic and early stage applied science underlying "biophotolysis" (the biological production of hydrogen from water and sunlight using microalgae photosynthesis). 1999-2004
16 Hydrogen from Carbon-Containing Materials To promote development of efficient and economic processes for hydrogen production from fossil and biomass resources, while keeping CO2 emissions at a minimum. 2002-2005
17 Solid and Liquid State Storage To develop the fundamental and engineering understanding of reversible solid and liquid hydrogen storage media. 2001-2006
18 Integrated Systems Evaluation To design, optimize and evaluate conceptual hydrogen demonstration systems for comparison with conventional energy systems, and to provide data and analysis results to the hydrogen community. 2004-2006
19 Hydrogen Safety To survey Quantitative Risk Assessment (QRA) methodologies and testing methodologies; test equipment to evaluate the effects of equipment or system failures under a range of real life scenarios, environments or mitigation measures; and develop targeted information packages for stakeholder groups. 2004-2009
20 Water Photolysis To significantly advance the fundamental and applied science in the area of direct photolytic water splitting. 2004-2007

IEA Hydrogen Implementing Agreement Participating Countries:

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • European Commission
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Lithuania
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

IEA Advanced Fuel Cells Implementing Agreement

The Advanced Fuel Cells Implementing Agreement has been in existence for almost 15 years with the aim of advancing the state of understanding in the field of advanced fuel cells. It achieves this through a coordinated program of research, technology development and system analysis on Molten Carbonate (MCFC), Solid Oxide (SOFC) and Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFC) systems. The work is undertaken on a task-sharing basis with each participating country providing an agreed level of effort over the period of the Task. The current phase of the IEA Advanced Fuel Cells Program runs from 2009 to 2014, and comprises the following six annexes.

Task Annex Objectives Duration
22 Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cells The objective of this Annex is to reduce the cost and improve the performance of PEFCs, DMFCs and corresponding fuel cell systems. 2009-2014
23 Molten Carbonate The objective of this Annex is to assist the commercialisation of MCFC systems through collaborative research and development. 2009-2014
24 Solid Oxide Fuel Cells The objective of this Annex is to assist, through international co-operation, the development of SOFC technologies. 2009-2014
25 Fuel Cells for Stationary Applications The objective of this Annex is to understand better how stationary fuel cell systems may be deployed in energy systems. 2009-2014
26 Fuel Cells for Transportation The objective of this Annex is to understand better how fuel cells may be deployed in transportation applications. 2009-2014
27 Fuel Cells for Portable Applications The objective of this Annex is to assist, through international co-operation, with the development of portable fuel cells towards commercialisation. 2009-2014

IEA Advanced Fuel Cells Implementing Agreement Participating Countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States