European Automotive Industry Outlines R&D Priorities for EU Green Car Initiative
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Associations Criticize DOE Program Cuts

$26.4B DOE FY 2010 Budget Request Cuts Funding for Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles; With Recovery Act Funding Boosts Support for PHEVs, Biomass and Biorefineries

The budget picture for the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. FY 2010 Budget requests are in green, the FY 2009 additional appropriation (Recovery Act funding) is in red. Electrification of transportation is receiving a major infusion of investment. Click to enlarge.

President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2010 $26.4 billion budget request to Congress for the Department of Energy increases investments in a number of areas, including investments in basic science and plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles and biofuels. It also scales back in areas such as oil and gas company research and moves away from funding vehicular hydrogen fuel cells to technologies “with more immediate promise,according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

The budget request represents a 21.8% decrease against the FY 2009 Appropriation of $33.7 billion for DOE. However, the FY 2010 budget complements the $38.7 billion the Department of Energy will invest as part of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Recovery Act investments in the energy area include energy conservation and renewable energy sources ($16.8 billion); environmental management ($6 billion); loan guarantees for renewable energy and electric power transmission projects ($6 billion); grid modernization ($4.5 billion); carbon capture and sequestration ($3.4 billion); basic science research ($1.6 billion); and the establishment of the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) ($0.4 billion).

There are three primary funded organizations within DOE: National Security; Energy and Environment; and Science.

  • National Security, which includes nuclear weapons and nonproliferation programs, has a $9.945 billion request for FY 2010 (38% of the total), an increase of 8.9%.

  • The Office of Science has a $4.942 billion request (19% of the total), an increase of 3.9%. This is also combined with $1.6 billion from the recovery funding for basic science research.

  • The combined Energy and Environment organization has a $10.269 billion request (39% of the total), a decrease of 8.7%. However, the additional appropriations in the form of Recovery Act fundings totals $30.7 billion for this group.

Within the Energy and Environment group, the Energy organization has a budget request of $4.253 billion, a decrease of 11.1% (but with an additional appropriation of $24.7 billion).

The Energy organization comprises four primary offices: Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability; Fossil Energy; and Nuclear Energy. FY 2010 budget requests for those four (comparisons are against FY 2009 appropriations) and additional appropriations are as follows:

  • Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy: $2.319 billion (+6.4%); $16.8 billion.
  • Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability:$208 million (+51.8%); $4.5 billion.
  • Fossil Energy: $882 million (-20.6%); $3.4 billion.
  • Nuclear Energy: $885 million (-37.8%)

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). EERE’s activities are intended to promote the development and use of clean, reliable, and cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to meet growing national energy needs, reduce dependence on oil, and enhance energy security. The FY 2010 budget request is $2,318.6 million, an increase of $140 million, or approximately 6.4% above the FY 2009 appropriation.

Within EERE, the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy RDD&D program is requesting $2.018 billion for FY 2010, up 39.4%. This is also combined with $4.549 billion in Recovery Act funding. Significant funding changes in this area from FY 2009 to the FY 2010 request related to transportation include:

  • Vehicle Technologies (FY 2009 $273.2M; FY 2010 $333.3M; +$60.1M, +22%). Overall funding for Vehicle Technologies increases by 22%. This reflects increases in VT’s core R&D activities that support accelerated development of PHEVs, as well as lighter vehicles and more efficient combustion engines.

    The largest increase is for Hybrid Electric Systems (+$39M) to accelerate battery and power-electronics R&D and to expand hybrid electric vehicles and PHEV testing and simulation. Increases in Combustion and Emissions Control (+$12.2M) will be used for systems-level engine efficiency optimization, and Solid-State Energy Conversion (+$4.2M) will fund competitively selected awards on an FY 2010 solicitation focused on demonstrating thermoelectric devices in vehicle applications and on research of the next generation of advanced thermoelectric materials.

    Propulsion Materials Technology (+$2.9M) will expand laboratory R&D in the areas of biofuels materials compatibility and high efficiency electric motor magnetic materials. Increases in Lightweight Materials Technology (+$11.7M) will support R&D and pilot-scale demonstrations for reducing the costs of automotive aluminum, magnesium, and carbon-fiber components and structures.

    In FY 2010, three activities (Safety and Codes and Standards, Technology Validation, and Education) are transferred from to the Fuel Cell Technologies Program as part of a reprioritization of fuel cell and hydrogen related activities.

  • Biomass and Biorefinery Systems R&D (FY 2009 $217.0M; FY 2010 $235.0M; +$18.0M, +8.3%). Biomass and Biorefinery Systems R&D funding is increased by 8.3%. Funding for Feedstock Infrastructure increased (+$12.0M), mainly to support an expansion of feedstock production trials and sustainability efforts critical to ensuring a stable supply of feedstocks needed for a viable domestic biofuels industry capable of providing the volumes mandated by the EISA 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard.

    Increased Platforms Research and Development funding (+$6.3M) supports the completion of ongoing multi-year R&D projects and the initiation of a new competitive solicitation within Thermochemical R&D Platform. Integration of Biorefineries funding is increased (+$1.5M) to support ongoing multi-year biorefinery project deployment schedules. Products R&D funding is decreased (-$1.8M) due to relative FY 2010 needs associated with multi-year fermentation organism (ethanologen) project cost schedules.

  • Fuel Cell Technologies (FY 2009 $169.0M; FY 2010 $68.2M; -$100.8M, -59.6%). Funding for Fuel Cell Technologies is reduced by $100.8 million. DOE says that this reflects a refocus of the program’s efforts on technology-neutral fuel cell systems for diverse applications in the stationary, portable and transportation sectors. The program’s activities will center on technology development for multiple types of fuel cell systems, including polymer electrolyte, solid oxide, alkaline, and others.

    Funding is provided for Fuel Cell Systems R&D (+$63.2M) and Systems Analysis (-$2.7M); funding for all other activities is zero, reflecting their longer term status.

    Three activities transferred to the Vehicle Technologies program in FY 2009 (Education, Safety and Codes & Standards, and Technology Validation) are returned to the Fuel Cell Technologies Program in FY 2010, but are not funded.

In addition to the funding in the FY 2010 budget request, DOE has targeted a significant expenditure of Recovery Funds at the transportation sector:

  • Advanced battery manufacturing: $2 billion
  • Biomass and biorefinery systems R&D: $786.5 million
  • Transportation electrification: $400 million
  • Alternative fueled vehicles pilot grant program: $300 million
  • Fuel cell technologies: $43.4 million



Henry Gibson

Yes money is better spent on plug in hybrids. ..HG..

Henry Gibson

The massive old growth forests are gone from the US. The native grass expanses are gone. The Bison are gone. The cod fish are gone from the north atlantic. The lobsters do not wash ashore in masses anymore. The earth is not doing a good job of renewing itself when man makes demands of its organisms. There is not adequate land area to grow enough fuel substitute for any major part of the US energy demands. The oceans are also overstressed. Many people's lives terminated earlier than necessary in Mexico and Haiti because corn became so expensive because of the rampant speculation. Fuel was not available to these people either because of oil speculation raised the price of any fuel beyond the reach of them. This money would be far better spent to refurbish an idle CANDU reactor and power could be delivered to the US in two years. Fuels must come from nuclear reactors. ..HG..


I largely agree, but the overexploitation of natural habitats is not because of a lack of energy. Appart from any security, economic or ecologic problems with our actual energy systems, the natural habitats are destroyed on a global scale. Of course, biofuels may even make it worse, but I am convinced that many spin-off technologies of the 'biofuel funding' will eventually allow restoration of the ecosystems. Algae fuel production will allow the massive production of biomass of any kind - also protein, sugar, ...
Most agriculture is not for direct human consumption, but for animal fodder. If all this biomass could be grown in desert-land at 100x the land-mass efficiency, most part of the land can be returned to wildlife. Also fish can be raised with these 'fuel byproducts', so fishing the oceans will be uneconomical, useless and considered unethical.


Plug-in hybrid is a decentralized power system. The "Smart Grid" cannot be achieved with more centralized electricity generators like nuclear, coal-fired, hydroelectric or even windfarms and giant solar arrays far removed from urban centers. New, high voltage transmission lines are not enough.

The household with a plug-in hybrid gains the means to survive an emergency grid failure, combined with rooftop solar photovoltiac panels, indefinitely.

The choice of whether to drive or cut utility bills offers an economic incentive to drive fewer and shorter trips. In time more trips can be made without having to drive. Development patterns change to adequately serve walking and bicycling. Mass transit becomes more practical to arrange. The economies that spring up around this paradigm shift in technology are local and regional, NOT global.

When thousands of households with a plug-in hybrid and rooftop photovoltiac pannels are invested in the grid helping to evenly distribute surplusses and loads, private utlities are no longer Enron-style private.

President Obama is right to downsize hydrogen fuel cell research. Fuel cell tech offers nowhere near the potential advantages and benefits of plug-in hybrid. Plug-in hybrid technology even exceeds the potential of battery-electric vehicles. It's no wonder the new GM Volt and Chrysler hybrids are unaffordably expensive.


No problem with reduced funding for fuel cells by the DOE. The Japanese car makers will be the first to introduce fuel cell vehicles just as they did the hybrid electrics.

Then the US car manufacturers, what's left of them, will play catch up.

Been there done that.


Next time someone mentions a "smart grid" ask them what they mean. A lot of it has to do with keeping the centralized model, which we will need, but some of it has to do with other things as well. This can include turning off your AC at home during peak demands. This may not be a bad thing, but people should know what they are being asked to support.


I've got a 20 Kw diesel Kabota generator on stand by for just such a situation. No problemo.

Incidentally in Eastern Europe before Communism fell most housing was heated from centralised plants. That's how the Communists controlled the population. Anyone that stepped out of line had his heat shut off in the dead of winter.

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