The Laboratory's role in the development of fuel cells and hydrogen as an energy source began with the utilization of expertise related to hydrogen gained from Project Rover, a program aimed at developing a nuclear-powered rocket. In 1977, DOE awarded the first the first Fuel Cells for Transportation program to LANL.

Some examples of the technical innovations that scientists at Los Alamos have made include through scientific breakthrough are: cost-effective catalysts and electrodes, advanced materials for improved durability of systems, better operating strategies, and proving understanding impurities that inhibit fuel cell performance.

Los Alamos continues as a core laboratory for the DOE Fuel Cell program today, as is evident from the fact that LANL leads two DOE-awarded multi-lab consortia in this arena: a) Fuel Cell Performance and Durability (FC-PAD) consortium, a five-lab program focused on improvement of fuel cell component durability and improved cell performance and B) The Electrocatalysis Consortium, or ElectroCat, which is multi-lab program program focused on the development of PGM-free catalysts for fuel cells.