The research I help with in the UT Combustion Labs involves producing syngas (a mixture composed chiefly of H2) from bio-fuels for industrial use and hopefully eventual use in fuel cells. Although I would not say that I do a particularly good job of keeping up with the constant energy debate, I have had the sense that the buzz about hydrogen has somewhat died out. In fact, in a blog I was reading today, one commenter referred to the "now-debunked hydrogen hype", while championing electric vehicles (EV's). My initial reaction to this was agreement, especially when it was mentioned that highway capable EV's can be built right now and I knew that, with the exception of a small fleet of hydrogen powered Fords in D.C., there were not any hydrogen powered vehicles. But the more I got thinking, the more I realized that an EV's highway capability according to this commenter were dependent on "convenient" fueling stations. True convenience is not having to fuel up at all, or at least not often. What I'm getting at is the fact that the technology is not there yet for long distance travel in electrical vehicles. Not to mention, that electrical vehicles need electricity, which can potentially be produced from really unclean and often inefficient sources like coal. Now that being said, does hydrogen offer an alternative? Not even close, at least not right now. An investigation of NREL's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research page exposes the multitude of problems with hydrogen, while simultaneously exposing its potential. The new age of "electric cars" like the Chevy Volt that will be appearing in car lots soon are a vast improvement over our existing vehicles, but ask them to go beyond their 40-mile battery range and their "revolutionary propulsion system" relies on a gasoline engine. They are an improvement, especially given the American affinity for the morning automotive commute, but they not a solution in my opinion. They are the band-aid, not the platelets healing the wound. They still use fossil fuels to achieve our current capabilities. One could argue that those fossil fuels could be replaced by bio-fuels and you would have a pretty sweet system. But all of this requires much more research to be viable, just like hydrogen. Only, the goals of hydrogen are much grander. Like the buzz has said, more on the scale of a revolution. The DOE's discussion of hydrogen's problems speaks to this:
Hydrogen storage: On-board hydrogen storage systems must enable a driving range of greater than 300 miles while meeting vehicular cost and performance requirements without intruding into vehicle cargo or passenger space.
Obviously, researchers involved in hydrogen are seeking a vehicle that can perform comprably with our current IC-driven cars, not just solve the problem of the morning commute. And overall, hydrogen has the potential to be of use in every aspect of our lives because it is a perfectly clean energy carrier that is available from renewable sources . Its production from these sources could also prove to be more efficient than producing electricity.
Again, I will repeat: hydrogen in its current state is not a huge factor in solving our energy problems. Band wagons should typically be avoided and I do believe there is no silver bullet to solve our problems. But hydrogen's potential is large, and it can only be reached through research, which requires funding, which requires the hydrogen buzz to remain around in at least a moderate way.
 DOE's "fuel cell overview" (available to download from the page that is listed as source )