About Hydrogen Plumbing

Hydrogen Plumbing is a project of Urban Traction, a mobility technology company. The project grew out of Urban Traction's work developing low-cost, low-power IoT devices for electric mobility (e-bikes, scooters, and small electric cargo vehicles) and was incubated as part of a 2023 Green Web Foundation Fellowship, exploring the intersection of environmental sustainability and digital justice. As part of this work, we discovered that current IoT solutions undermine the usability and longevity of many emerging forms of mobility that integrate and increasingly depend on wireless connectivity to operate.

We launched the Hydrogen Plumbing project to create an alternative approach to device connectivity that relies on core Internet protocols and design principles rather than proprietary platforms. The project provides a protocol specification, a collection of open source software, and open hardware reference designs to support anyone interested in deploying the technology.

While Urban Traction uses Hydrogen Plumbing in its commercial work, the project itself is non-commercial, with the view that improving the quality and availability of digital connectivity solutions allows us to build better mobility products. To support further development of Hydrogen Plumbing, we offer assembled hardware devices and hosted infrastructure on a cost-recovery basis for deploying and testing the protocol; however, we provide the full designs, documentation, and source code under open licenses. The core premise of Hydrogen Plumbing is that users will deploy their own infrastructure for production applications and incorporate the protocol into new devices.


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