During a presentation to the International Energy Agency Ministerial, U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham called for the development of international collaboration in advanced research and development that will support the deployment of hydrogen energy technologies.Paris, France – April 30, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “International cooperation is key to achieving hydrogen and fuel cell program goals,” Abraham said. “Partnerships that leverage scarce resources, develop technology standards and foster private-public technology and infrastructure collaboration can more easily overcome the technological and institutional barriers that inhibit the development of a cost-competitive, standardized, widely accessible and safe hydrogen economy.” An International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy will establish cooperative and collaborative efforts in hydrogen production, storage, transport, and end-use technologies; common codes and standards for hydrogen fuel utilization; and the sharing of information necessary to develop hydrogen fueling infrastructure. “The vision of the international partnership for the hydrogen economy is that a participating country’s consumers will have the practical option of purchasing a competitively priced hydrogen power vehicle, and be able to refuel it near their homes and places of work, by 2020,” Abraham said. A growing number of countries have committed to accelerate the development of hydrogen energy technologies in order to improve their energy, economic, and environmental security. For example, the United States has committed US$1.7 billion for the first five years of a long-term research and development program for hydrogen, hydrogen infrastructure, fuel cells, and hybrid vehicle technologies. The European Union has committed up to 2 billion Euros (US$2.2 billion) to long-term research and development of renewable and hydrogen energy technologies. Most of IEA’s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries face undesirable levels of risk to the reliability of their energy sectors and environmental quality resulting from on over reliance on imported petroleum, unstable energy prices, aging electricity and natural gas infrastructures, and the air and water pollution issues associated with the extraction and use of traditional fuels. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions are a growing concern. The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier offers several important advantages relative to existing systems. Hydrogen can be derived from multiple feedstocks, which fosters fuel versatility. End-use technologies that employ hydrogen, such as fuel cells and combustion engines, are more efficient and can be used safely while improving the environment and public health. Fuel cell vehicles may one day serve as sources of reliable, distributed electricity generation when not being used for transportation.