The U. S. Department of Energy has issued its year-end report card outlining the progress in hydrogen technology and development in 2006. One of the key figures of the report is how much money the President and the Congress are appropriating each year for hydrogen research and development.
As part of the U. S. Hydrogen Fuel Initiative (HFI), in fiscal year (FY) 2005, $222 million was appropriated by Congress for hydrogen research and development. In FY 2006, $235.9 million was appropriated and for FY 2007, the President is asking Congress for $289.5 million in R&D funding.
Some of the key findings of the 2006 DOE report include:
1. 63 first generation fuel cell vehicles were tested
2. Nine hydrogen fueling stations were tested
3. Gas mileage for hydrogen cars and vehicles were tested and ranged from 32 – 67 miles per kg
4. Significant advancements were made in fuel cells using non-platinum catalysts
5. In regard to renewable hydrogen production and PEM electrolysis, stack costs have decreased from $2,500/kw in 2001 to $1,250/kw in 2006
6. In regard to hydrogen storage, significant achievements were made in using metal hydrides, chemical storage and carbon-based materials
7. In regard to hydrogen delivery, significant research and findings were made on hydrogen pipeline embrittlement
8. In regard to safety, the Hydrogen Incident Database was established at to report accidents and incidents related to handling hydrogen technology (or remotely related such as a hydrogen bus slipping off a jack stand an injuring an apprentice mechanic)
9. Loan guarantee programs are enacted to help overcome financial barriers for researching, developing and deploying innovative technology
10. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee is established bringing together members of government, industry and academia
11. As a result of the DOE Hydrogen Program, nine new patents were awarded and 38 patent applications were filed or in the process of being awarded
If FY 2007 is anything like FY 2006, hydrogen research and development will most assuredly grow by leaps and bounds and many new hydrogen-related inventions will be brought to market.