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February 09, 2005

White House Budget Boosts Funding for Hydrogen


A man works on the frame of a vehicle in the background of this photo, while in the foreground, wires snake across the battery box mounted in the car's exposed floor.

A worker installs door components on the Ford Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV). The President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative could allow such vehicles to be commercialized by 2015.
Credit: Ford Motor Company

President Bush released his proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2006 on February 7th, and despite tight constraints on discretionary spending, the budget includes $260 million for the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, an increase of $35 million over 2005 funding levels. The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative is a $1.2-billion, five-year commitment to develop the fundamental science and technologies to produce, store, and distribute hydrogen for use in fuel-cell vehicles, electricity generation, and other applications. The 2005 budget continues strong support for high-risk, high-payoff basic research that is closely coupled and coordinated with the initiative's applied research and development programs.

Research funded through the initiative has already led to reduced costs for fuel cells, and progress continues on other technological challenges in hydrogen production and storage. According to DOE, technological advances have reduced the estimated cost to produce automotive fuel cells at high volumes from $275 per kilowatt, based on the state of technology in 2002, to $200 per kilowatt, based on the state of technology in 2004. Additional research is needed for fuel cells to achieve the cost target of less than $50 per kilowatt, which roughly equates to the cost of today's internal combustion engines. With complementary work ongoing under the FreedomCAR partnership, these efforts keep the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative on track for the industry to make a decision on commercialization by 2015. See the White House summary of the DOE budget.

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