This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 27, 2004

DOE Awards $350 Million for Hydrogen Energy Research

President Bush announced on April 26th that DOE is awarding 32 new hydrogen research projects a total of $350 million over five years to overcome obstacles to a hydrogen economy. Private funding will add another $225 million to support the projects, which involve more than 130 organizations, including academia, industry, and DOE national laboratories. The award represents nearly one-third of the President's $1.2-billion commitment in research funding to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technology from the laboratory to the showroom. "We want to be the country that leads the world in innovation and technological change," said President Bush. See the White House press release and detailed announcement.

Photo of Secretary Abraham at a podium in front of a mock hydrogen pump

Framed by a mock hydrogen fuel pump, Secretary Abraham announces the DOE awards at NREL. The Secretary also made announcements in Detroit and Los Angeles.
Credit: Jack Dempsey

Though previewed in President Bush's speech, the actual DOE awards were announced on April 27th by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. Five teams of automakers and energy companies—including the top U.S. automakers—will demonstrate fleets of fuel-cell vehicles integrated with hydrogen refueling stations. In addition, 15 projects will investigate aspects of hydrogen storage; 5 projects will research fuel cells for off-road applications, auxiliary power generation, and consumer electronic devices; and 4 projects will advance hydrogen energy education. See the DOE press release.

The awards will also help establish three "Centers of Excellence" for hydrogen storage research at DOE national laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will combine forces to investigate chemical means of hydrogen storage, Sandia National Laboratories will investigate metal hydrides, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will investigate storage in nanoscale "sponges" made of carbon. Together, the three centers will tackle DOE's "Hydrogen Storage Grand Challenge": storing enough hydrogen in a car to enable it to go at least 300 miles on a fill-up without impacting cargo or passenger space. See the DOE press release.

DOE has also been working to educate government officials and students around the country about hydrogen energy. DOE's hydrogen education workshop for state and local officials kicked off in Lansing, Michigan, on March 23rd and then visited Austin, Texas, on April 16th. Called "Hydrogen Power: The Promise, The Challenge," the workshop will next travel to Albany, New York, and Annapolis, Maryland, and will finish with visits to cities in the Southeast and Northeast in the fall. Meanwhile, David Garman, DOE's Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, spoke about fuel cells to eighth graders at Star Academy MS-201 in the Bronx on April 22nd. The New York City students are building fuel-cell-powered model cars using kits provided by DOE. See the DOE press releases on the workshops and the school visit.