U.S. Unveils Hydrogen Energy Roadmap

The U.S. Government may be warming up to some brave new ideas for a hydrogen-based economy.

Dearborn, Michigan – November 13, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham made two major announcements about the future of personal transportation in the United States, unveiling the “National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap” and the “New Vision for the 21st Century Truck Partnership” that focuses on improving the energy efficiency and safety of trucks and buses. Abraham gave the keynote address to an international audience of senior government, industry and academic officials at the Global Forum on Personal Transportation in Dearborn, Michigan. The result of a twelve-month collaborative process that brought together America’s scientific and engineering experts to chart the course to a hydrogen economy, the roadmap outlines the research, development, demonstration, codes and standards, and education efforts necessary to lead the nation to a clean and sustainable energy future. “Whether it is fusion, a hydrogen economy, or ideas that we have not yet explored, I believe we need to leapfrog the status quo and prepare for a future that under any scenario requires a revolution in how we produce, deliver and use energy,” Abraham said. In the coming decades the United States will need new energy supplies and an upgraded energy infrastructure to meet growing demands for electric power and transportation fuels. Heavy reliance on oil imports threatens our economic well-being and national security, and clean energy alternatives are needed to reduce air pollution, curb greenhouse gas emissions and offer sustainable solutions for increasing global economic growth, Abraham said. According to Abraham, an energy economy based on hydrogen could help satisfy these needs. Hydrogen offers the potential for a highly efficient energy system that produces near-zero emissions and is based on diverse, domestically available resources. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources such as biomass or wind power can provide nearly unlimited energy with virtually no impact on the environment. The “hydrogen economy” will be a long-term process that neither government nor industry can undertake on its own. Next steps will include the development of detailed research and development plans for hydrogen production, delivery, storage, conversion and end-use applications. Future solicitations will be issued for public-private cooperative research and development projects. In January, to begin the process, Abraham along with leaders from the U.S. automotive industry and Congress unveiled the FreedomCAR Partnership to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which have the potential to achieve over twice the fuel economy of today’s vehicles and emit zero pollution. Abraham was joined in his announcement of a “New Vision for the 21st Century Truck Partnership” by officials of the Departments of Transportation and Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as industry executives from the full spectrum of the heavy-duty truck and bus industry, highlighting the revitalized and expanded membership of the Partnership. “Our goal is to dramatically improve the energy efficiency and safety of trucks and buses, while maintaining a dedicated concern for the environment,” Abraham said. “The expanded 21st Century Truck Partnership will center on advanced combustion engines and heavy hybrid drives that can use renewable fuels.”
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