Obama Administration cuts funding for hydrogen powered cars

The Obama Administration, in its 2010 budget proposal, seems to have lost faith in hydrogen fuel cell technology.   The latest budget knocks out over $100 million in funding for hydrogen research, leaving only $68 million  that’s earmarked specifically for fuel cells.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in explaining the cuts, has said that they do not feel that hydrogen is going to be practical anytime soon.  “We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy?’ The answer, we felt, was ‘no.'”  The main issue was over the likelihood of developing of producing and more importantly, distributing hydrogen efficiently anytime in the near future.

Some of the car companies, including GM, Honda and Toyota, have invested heavily in hydrogen cars.  Honda is in the middle of conducting tests of its FCX Clarity, and GM had a fleet of over 100 hydrogen powered Chevrolet Equinoxes on the road.    The car companies have been working on developing the technology for the cars themselves, but without a widespread and robust distribution network for hydrogen, there would be nowhere for these cars to go.

2 thoughts on “Obama Administration cuts funding for hydrogen powered cars

  1. I think this move reflects negatively upon the Obama administration after the early promises under the February 2009 Stimulus Package agreement which saw him commit to buying more energy efficient vehicles for the federal fleet. Admittedly, the afore-mentioned promises do not necessarily touch upon the remit of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, but I must admit that my inherent Sinicism leads me to predict a political “snowballing” and subsequent withdrawal of those promises made vis-a-vis energy efficient transport.
    This is a hot topic for discussion, one that I have been discussing on other blogs as well (please see http://meettheboss.com/Discussion.aspx?discussionID=216 for further discussion points) and the main thematic I keep returning to is whether political administrations are actually vested with an environmental consciousness. America is always a tricky subject when it comes to this issue as the automotive lobby/oil industry combined retain a large stronghold over American political practice. Will we ever be able to move toward a cleaner, more energy efficient environment if the current tensions between industry and legislation are not adequately negotiated? Will environmental issues continue to be a lobbying and campaigning tool that is eventually usurped by the realpolitik of industrial agendas? Join us in discussing on the above link, this affects us all!

  2. This just shows the government caving in to the oil companys and the oil producers over in the mid-east. We will never get away from fossil fuel use if we don’t start somewhere!

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