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US Government pulls plug on hydrogen fuel-cell development

The Obama Administration has announced that the Federal government’s US$1.2 billion plan to develop hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars and infrastructure is to end. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, says that the government preferred to target more immediate energy-saving solutions and so funding was “moving away from vehicular hydrogen fuel cells to technologies with more immediate promise”.

Next year’s budget will see US$68.2 million spent on fuel cell technologies, down from US$169 million last year. The savings come from the cancellation of funds for vehicle development, although the Department of Energy will continue to pay for research into stationary fuel cells that could be used for non-automotive purposes.

Right: The Department of Energy's Steven Chu wants to target more immediate energy-saving solutions

In comparison with the money spent on hydrogen fuel cell research, the 2010 Federal budget includes spending of US$2 billion on advanced battery manufacturing, US$400 million on transport electrification, and US$786.5 million on biomass and bio-refinery system research and development. The original hydrogen plan was announced by President Bush in 2003 and to date the US government has spent around US$500 million on the project.
 

12 May 2009



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