Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced today the release of a $150 million solicitation for a project that will spur the development of both hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure needed to support them. This solicitation represents a critical step in implementing President Bush’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative and supports his FreedomCAR Initiative.
Even with aggressive research, the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will not be better than the diesel hybrid (a vehicle powered by a conventional engine supplemented by an electric motor) in terms of total energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, says a study recently released by MIT’s Laboratory for Energy and the Environment (LFEE). And while hybrid vehicles are already appearing on the roads, adoption of the hydrogen-based vehicle will require major infrastructure changes to make compressed hydrogen available. If we need to curb greenhouse gases within the next 20 years, improving mainstream gasoline and diesel engines and transmissions and expanding the use of hybrids is the way to go.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the first certification for fuel economy and emissions of a U.S. hydrogen fuel cell zero emission vehicle. This comes shortly after a Presidential commitment to further the progress of hydrogen fuel cells as a way to make the air significantly cleaner, and our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy.
It’s hard to imagine that in what may be Big Oil’s political-clout highwater mark, anyone is talking about alternative fuel cars. But Wired does a
marathon out-take in this month’s issue, delving deep behind the Oil Curtain in a mission to GM’s Detroit headquarters. The magazine takes yet another look at the possibility that hydrogen fuel cell cars will appear in our lifetime. Wired even has the humility to point out where its previously breathless boosterism may have been a wee bit premature.