Hydrogen Car Back From the Impound: Congress Restores Funding

By Eliza Strickland
Jul 22, 2009 10:58 PMNov 5, 2019 8:58 PM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Just two months ago, we reported that the federal government's hydrogen car program was going down like the Hindenburg, as the Department of Energy announced that it would slash research funding.

At the time, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said that after years of research, hydrogen-fueled cars were still years away from commercial viability. "We asked ourselves, 'Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will convert to a hydrogen car economy?' The answer, we felt, was 'no,'" Chu said in May [CNET].

But the program has proven harder to take down than the flammable zeppelin: Both houses of Congress seem inclined to restore funding. The House of Representatives voted on an energy package on Friday that includes $153 million for hydrogen and fuel cell research, and the parallel bill that will go before the Senate currently includes $190 million for the program. The Department of Energy's decision to cut funding had distressed car companies working on hydrogen car prototypes, and also discomfited California legislators, who had been expecting further federal help for a state-wide hydrogen initiative. Now the lobbying of those interest groups appears to have paid off.

“We’re encouraged,” said Patrick Serfass, a spokesman for the National Hydrogen Association. “Congress has shown that it is very well educated about these technologies. It sees the benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells, and understands we need to pursue a portfolio of technologies, not just one or two. Frankly, it’s too early to choose” [The New York Times, blog].

Related Content: 80beats: Hydrogen Car Goes Down Like the Hindenburg: DoE Kills the Program 80beats: The Super-Small, Open-Source, Ultracapacitor-Using Hydrogen Car 80beats: Carbon Nanotubes Could Replace Platinum and Lead to Affordable Hydrogen Cars DISCOVER: Under the Hood of the First Real Fuel-Cell Car DISCOVER: Future Tech test drives three hydrogen cars DISCOVER: Lovin’ Hydrogen describes Amory Lovins’s vision of a hydrogen-powered future

Image: flickr / ideowl

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.