Science Research Subcommittee Chairman Bob Inglis (R-SC) introduced legislation called the H-Prize Act of 2006 (H.R. 5143) last Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives. The monetary H-Prize is intended to attract the best and brightest minds to attack technological and commercial market obstacles in moving to a hydrogen economy.
Modeled after the successful $10-million Ansari X Prize awarded for entrepreneurial space flight, the three category H-Prize features a $100-million grand prize that would be awarded for commercial transformational technologies that changes hydrogen technology and brings the hydrogen car to driveways around the country.
Filed with 14 co-sponsors, legislation outlines three major prize categories:
Technological advancements: Four $1-million prizes awarded annually in the categories of hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization.
Prototypes: One $4 million prize awarded every other year for the creation of a working hydrogen vehicle prototype.
Transformation technologies: A maximum $100 million prize—$10 million in cash and up to $90 million in matching funds for private capital—would be awarded for changes in hydrogen technologies that meet or exceed objective criteria in production and distribution to the consumer.
Under the legislation, the Secretary of Energy will contract with a private foundation or panel that will include experts in the field to establish criteria for the prizes.
America is treading water in a sea of rising demand for oil that includes China and India. The market is now in a position to reward those who will innovate our way to a hydrogen economy. Those innovators will create jobs, clean the air, and improve our national security.—Rep. Bob Inglis
The Science Committee has scheduled a hearing on the bill for April 27.
Separately, the X Prize Foundation, creators of the Ansari X Prize, announced that they are forming a new Automotive X Prize to focus on the creation of new fuel-efficient vehicles that far exceed anything available on the market today. Rules for the Automotive X Prize may be announced as early as 1 May.