— Secretary Bodman announced a three-year, $52.5 million solicitation to support new innovations in hydrogen technology. The solicitation, to be released later this month, supports President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative - which seeks to reduce dependence on foreign oil - and will support research to assist in overcoming the scientific challenges associated with the production, use and storage of hydrogen. Secretary Bodman made the announcement while speaking to the 2006 SAE World Congress today.
“This investment in basic research is designed to spur new innovation and breakthroughs that will help us build a hydrogen-based economy,” Secretary Bodman said. “Our automotive industry is undergoing change, and we hope that this funding will enable America to lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles that will be emissions-free and reduce our dependence on imported oil. I believe this will help us overcome technical barriers and bring hydrogen and fuel cell technology one step closer to the showroom.”
The solicitation will target the challenges that crosscut hydrogen storage, production and utilization identified in DOE’s report “Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy.” The areas will include novel hydrogen storage materials, catalysts, and membranes. It will also create new information to expand upon DOE’s already-existing basic research and will provide the longer-term knowledge necessary to move toward a hydrogen economy. If DOE's research - in partnership with industry, national labs and universities - succeeds in meeting consumer requirements by 2015, a mass-market penetration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can begin by 2020, achieving President Bush’s goal of enabling today’s children to take their future driver's tests in completely pollution-free cars.
Secretary Bodman made this announcement while promoting President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI), aimed at breaking our dependence on foreign energy sources. The AEI is a 22 percent increase in clean-energy research at DOE that will accelerate breakthroughs in the way we power our cars, homes and businesses. The Fiscal Year 2007 budget requests more than $2.1 billion for AEI-related programs.
While hydrogen remains at the center of our nation’s long-term strategy for energy independence and reduction of criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases, Secretary Bodman also discussed nearer-term technologies for breaking our foreign oil dependence. Secretary Bodman implored all automakers to make vehicles that run on clean burning E-85 fuel. This is a mixture of 85% renewable ethanol with 15% gasoline.
The Secretary also announced that DOE will solicit proposals for public-private partnerships to make E-85 more widely available. Secretary Bodman also expressed his desire to see automakers expand their hybrid-electric vehicle line and announced that DOE is requesting more funding for advanced batteries to expand the all-electric, zero-emission range and fuel economy of these vehicles. DOE believes that the robust near-term and long-term technology approaches under the President’s AEI will result in vehicles Americans want to buy while also providing significant energy security and environmental benefits.
Craig Stevens (202) 586-4940