Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Associations Criticize DOE Program Cuts
07 May 2009
The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) and US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC) issued a joint statement criticizing the cuts in the hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle program in the Obama Administration’s FY 2010 budget request for the US Department of Energy. (Earlier post.)
The budget request includes a 59.6% cut in the DOE hydrogen and fuel cell technology program, as well as other cuts related to hydrogen. The two organizations said that such cuts “threaten to disrupt commercialization of a family of technologies that are showing exceptional promise and beginning to gain market traction.”
Fuel cell vehicles are not a science experiment. These are real vehicles with real marketability and real benefits. Hundreds of fuel cell vehicles have collectively logged millions of miles.
Both the National Academy of Sciences and NHA’s recent Energy Evolution report conclude that a portfolio of vehicle technologies is needed to achieve the nation’s energy and environmental security goals and that hydrogen is essential to success. Hydrogen also advances the Obama Administration’s goals of greener power generation and a smarter power grid.
The newest fuel cell vehicles get 72 miles per gallon equivalent with no compromise in creature comforts. Fuel cell buses operating in revenue service achieve twice the fuel economy of diesel buses. Hydrogen production costs are already competitive with gasoline. Projected vehicle costs have been reduced by 75%. These are accomplishments of the Department’s own program in partnership with industry. It would truly be a government waste to squander them by walking away just as success is in sight.
The National Academy recommended a portfolio approach and we are frankly puzzled at the Energy Department’s decision to ignore that recommendation even as the Department uses other material from the same report to justify its proposed cut.
We are also concerned that the Department appears to be walking away from its Market Transformation activities, which support fuel cell deployment in early commercial applications. This Congressionally-mandated program is demonstrating the ability of fuel cells to provide a competitive and green alternative to battery-based systems in vehicles and in power supply.
Finally, we are concerned that the Department has proposed to cut funds for the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA). SECA success could dramatically lower the cost of carbon sequestration, improve power plant efficiency, and enable a virtually pollution-free coal plant in the future. Additional funding will hasten SECA progress.
The NHA and USFCC collectively represent more than 200 companies and organizations.
Now they know how the National Renewable Energy Lab felt with budget cuts year after year under Bush. They now cut $17 billion from the federal budget, something had to go and the longer term stuff got cut. Not eliminated, cut. Do more with less, that is efficiency.
Posted by: SJC | 07 May 2009 at 09:57 PM
Hydrogen has received the bulk of funding for a decade and has almost nothing to show for it (in terms of a practical vehicle ready to roll and H fuel available).
They belong on the furthest back burner for a decade. Let EV's get the funding now. Vehicles will be rolling in two yrs.
Posted by: danm | 08 May 2009 at 05:13 AM
H will never be real alternative for oil in automobile industry. That's simply dead end. Only in some cases like aerospace.
Posted by: Darius | 08 May 2009 at 06:52 AM
"...just as success is in sight."
That might be called a success "horizon".
No matter how far you go, you never get there.
Posted by: SJC | 08 May 2009 at 08:29 AM