The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) continues to dole out funds to advance development of hydrogen technology, which has seemed to escape the attention of most media outlets.
On October 24, 2006, the U. S. Department of Energy announced it was allocating $100 million to fun 25 hydrogen research projects. The aim of the projects is to overcome cost and durability barriers and will focus on “… fuel cell membranes, water transport within the stack, advanced cathode catalysts and supports, cell hardware, innovative fuel cell concepts, and effects of impurities on fuel cell performance and durability.” The list of candidates for the funds includes mostly commercial enterprises.
On April 6, 2006, the DOE announced a $52.5 million initiative to fund hydrogen research that will focus on the storage, production and utilization of hydrogen. Included in the research will be novel hydrogen storage materials, membranes and catalysts.
On January 24, 2006, the DOE made an announcement regarding offering $119 million in hydrogen funding to come up with a research roadmap and overcome technical and manufacturing challenges. The goals of this project are similar to that announced in October 2006, but the recipients of the funds have been mostly universities.
On May 25, 2005, the DOE announced $64 million in hydrogen research and development funds would be allocated towards the development of hydrogen vehicles and refueling stations. This funding targets 70 separate research projects aimed at discovering breakthroughs in hydrogen production, storage and fuel cell technology.
On October 19, 2004, the DOE announced $75 million in research grants to support President Bush’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. The focus of this research is to create viable small-scale natural gas reformers and electrolyzers that can be placed at current gasoline stations. In addition, renewable energy from solar power are also being investigated using these funds.
The President’s 2007 budget calls for $53 million more than last year’s budget for hydrogen research as part of the overall $2.1 billion Hydrogen Fuel Initiative announced in 2003. For the naysayers who say that hydrogen is a lot of smoke and mirrors and that nothing of substance is being done to promote hydrogen, this kind of capital investment will hopefully be a wakeup call that hydrogen is being well-back and well-funded by the federal government and the momentum will not die down anytime soon.