Illinois Democratic Representative Dan Lipinski and South Carolina Republican Bob Inglis have heralded through the House of Representatives the historic H-Prize Act of 2007 (H.R. 632). The H-Prize Act is part of the overall Energy Independence and Security Act that is expected to be signed by the White House before the end of the year.
The Energy Independence and Security Act is made up of two parts including the H-Prize Act and the Bright Energy Savings Act. The Bright Energy Savings Act requires the Federal Government’s office buildings to replace standard light bulbs with energy efficient CFL bulbs, for an energy savings of 75-percent.
The overall energy independence act will also raise CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards for automobiles from today’s 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.5 mpg for light trucks (and SUVs) to 35 mpg for both by 2020. This action is expected to save the average family between $700 and $1,000 per year in fuel costs.
The H-Prize Act offers $50 million in incentives to companies for innovation in hydrogen technology for the transportation sector. Multi-million dollar awards will be given for companies that create transformational changes in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization technologies.
The H-Prize Act is modeled after incentives offered by the X-Prize Foundation, that have already paid $10 million for innovations in the space tourism industry. The same foundation is also offering an Automotive X-Prize for breakthrough technology that will radically reduce oil consumption in the transportation sector.
With all of this prize money up for grabs, expect to see increased interest, innovation and participation in the hydrogen transportation sector like at no other time in history. If we can put a man on the moon in a few short years of a nationally concerted effort, there is no doubt that we can put a hydrogen car in every garage as well.