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Timeline

The long-term vision of the hydrogen economy will take several decades to achieve. Initially, government will play a key role in conducting the R&D to achieve the "technology readiness" needed to allow industry to make decisions on commercialization in the 2015 timeframe. The DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program has identified the key milestones for technology development, improvement, or demonstration. The Hydrogen Posture Plan provides details about these milestones. As technologies evolve and economic and systems analyses progress, these targets will be refined.

There are four phases in the long-term hydrogen vision. Phase one is the Technology Development Phase where research to meet customer requirements and establish business case leads to technology readiness. In phase one, government plays a strong R&D role. Once technology readiness has been established, industry steps in to take on the commercialization role. Phase two is the Initial Market Penetration Phase where portable power and stationary/transport systems begin commercialization and infrastructure investment begins with governmental policies. In phase two, government plays less of a role and allows industry to make the transition to the marketplace. Phase three is the Expansion of Markets and Infrastructure Phase where hydrogen power and transport systems are commercially available and the infrastructure business case is realized. In phase three, government plays a minor role and industry a strong role in expansion of markets and infrastructure. Phase four, is the Mature Markets and Infrastructure Phase where hydrogen power and transport systems are commercially available in all regions and a national infrastructure is available. In phase four, industry plays a strong role in the realization of the hydrogen economy.