“We asked ourselves, ‘Is it likely in the next 10 or 15, 20 years that we will covert to a hydrogen car economy?’ The answer, we felt, was ‘no,’” Chu said in a briefing today. He cited several barriers, including infrastructure, development of long-lasting portable fuel cells and other problems.
For years now, I have been urging the Department of Energy to slash the bloated hydrogen budget and redirect the funds toward clean energy technology development and deployment programs that could actually achieve significant benefits for the American public in the foreseeable future (see “California Hydrogen Highway R.I.P.” and “DOE flushes $15 million down the hydrogen toilet“).
Well, finally, we have somebody running the Department of Energy who gets how unproductive this whole effort has proven to be. Nobelist Steven Chu has rolled out a FY2010 budget that cuts $100 million from the program. Indeed, the budget (see page 4 here) zeroes out the “hydrogen” program and shifts all the money to “fuel cell technologies.”
I’ll blog on the rest of the remarkable FY2010 budget for clean energy shortly. Here is how E&E News PM (subs. req’d) reports Chu’s remarks today on hydrogen and transportation in his budget: