The U.S. Department of Energy has released a US$150 million solicitation for a project intended to spur development of both hydrogen vehicles and the hydrogen infrastructure needed to support them.Washington, D.C. – May 9, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The Demonstration and Validation of Hydrogen Vehicles and Infrastructure solicitation seeks proposals for 50/50 cost shared cooperative agreements between industry and the Department of Energy (DOE) for the five-year project. Teams will consist of an automobile manufacturer and an energy company in combination with hydrogen fuel cell manufacturers, small businesses, universities and state/ local governments. The project will be a learning demonstration that will help DOE focus its research and development efforts and provide insight into vehicle and infrastructure interface issues; codes, standards and safety issues. The highly visible project will increase public awareness of hydrogen powered vehicles. Also, the project will afford a better assessment of the current state of fuel cell technology. The project is an important first step towards bringing energy companies and automakers together to help solve all elements of infrastructure and vehicle development. The winning projects could take several forms: from producing a fleet of hydrogen vehicles, building more fueling stations and testing fleets in a controlled environment such as on a military base. Subject to appropriations, the DOE will allocate approximately US$25 million in fiscal year 2004 for projects selected under this Hydrogen Vehicle and Infrastructure Demonstration and Validation solicitation. Approximately 3-5 projects may be selected for cost-shared cooperative agreements. Total estimated federal funding for the solicitation is approximately US$150 million for the period of performance. President Bush reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring energy independence and an improved environment by proposing $1.2 billion in research funding for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies over the next five years. The President’s Hydrogen Fuel Initiative is designed to co-develop hydrogen infrastructure in parallel with hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles to allow a commercialization decision by 2015.