Organizations Call on US Congress to Restore Federal Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Budget to FY 2009 Levels
Three organizations representing health, environmental and energy policy interests joined four national trade associations in calling on the US Congress to restore funding for the federal hydrogen and fuel cell research and deployment program to FY 2009 levels. The seven groups are the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM); American Lung Association (ALA); Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA); Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS); The Stella Group, Ltd; the National Hydrogen Association (NHA); and the US Fuel Cell Council (USFCC).
The Obama Administration’s 2010 Department of Energy (DOE) budget proposes to cut the federal hydrogen fuel cell research and deployment budget by more than two thirds, or $130 million, eliminating funds for the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle program and market transformation programs. (Earlier post.)
In a letter to the House and Senate Energy & Water Appropriations Subcommittee leadership, the organizations wrote:
Attaining our national goal of sustainable transportation will require a diverse portfolio of advanced vehicles. Fuel cell vehicles should be part of our portfolio. Yet the Department of Energy proposed to eliminate funding for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and for fuel cell deployment activities, cutting the program overall by two-thirds. We ask that you restore funding to FY 2009 levels.
Industry, academic researchers, and the Department of Energy, working together, have achieved substantial success in addressing technology, infrastructure and cost challenges. US and international vehicle manufacturers have hundreds of vehicles on the road today and have made near-term commitments to building the fuel cell vehicle fleet. Together they have spent billions of dollars on research, an investment many times greater than the US government’s. Real world data collected by DOE and others confirms that fuel cell vehicles are inherently low in smog-causing emissions, cut carbon emissions by more than half and achieve nearly 60% efficiency, which is two to three times the fuel economy of comparable combustion vehicles.
Additional research and development are necessary in all the advanced vehicle and fuel pathways. All the pathways have a role to play in attaining national goals for greenhouse gas reductions and oil-free transportation. None of the advanced pathways are fully commercial yet. As the National Research Council concluded in its 2008 report on hydrogen:
At any point in time, a well-founded energy policy would support a portfolio of improving, emerging, and potentially revolutionary technologies, and it would influence both established companies and entrepreneurial ventures.
We need to maintain momentum in the hydrogen fuel cell pathway as part of our national energy portfolio. We urge you to maintain US leadership in developing and deploying fuel cell transportation by restoring fuel cell funding to FY 2009 levels.