In 2008, there was $281 million allocated for the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative under former President Bush. This funding was for research, development and demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The report itself is an extremely long series of PDF files covering the many different sections. So, I’ve linked to the overview of this report and am outlining below a few key points that I think are important for 2008 and going forward into 2009 as well.
Here is the main 2008 achievements:
• Exceeding the DOE target of 5,000 hour of durability for fuel cells, 3M has extended this to 7,300 inside the lab.
• The cost reduction from 2007 to 2008 for an 80 kw fuel cell has dropped from $94/kW in 2007 to $73/kW in 2008 because of less platinum being used.
• Ohio State University has improved the process of steam reforming of bio-ethanol with yields of over 90-percent and a 10-year target to reach the $3 per gasoline gallon equivalent.
• Electrolysis efficiency has been improved by Giner Electrochemical Systems from 61-percent to 67-percent with a DSM membrane that is 1/10th the cost of Nafion.
• Southwest Research Institute and Eltron Research, Incorporated have made significant pathways in coal to hydrogen production in the area of membrane separation technology.
• In regard to nuclear to hydrogen production, the Idaho National Laboratory made progress in 2008 with their steam electrolysis process, with an upgrade of their output to 5,000 liters per hour.
These are just some of the highlights for the 2008 report. Many more are expected for 2009, depending upon how President Obama decides to fund the hydrogen energy sector. But regardless, by pursuing the hydrogen vehicle and infrastructure issues on all fronts, as we have been doing, its only a matter of time until the dominoes start to fall and the H2 puzzle pieces begin to neatly fall into place.