The Department of Energy has announced a new round of funding for the study of hydrogen refueling stations throughout the country. The agency’s interest in hydrogen energy has been growing over the past two years, despite cutbacks it has made to its research and development of fuel cells. The DOE is funding the research with approximately $2 million. The study will focus on examining the performance of the fuel cells operating at the 56 stations currently open to the public in the U.S.
The study will be conducted over the next five years. The DOE will examine data collected in this time and determine ways to better facilitate hydrogen expansion throughout the country. The agency will also determine how to build new fuel cells and storage tanks to better meet the demand of consumers purchasing hydrogen-powered vehicles. Major automakers, such as Toyota and Mercedes-Benz, will be assisting in the study by providing the DOE with independent information regarding fuel cells and their performance.
Despite an interest in hydrogen, the DOE is showing major support for battery electric vehicles. There are currently more than 7,000 electric charging stations throughout the country, most of which have been supported by the agency. The DOE has made cutbacks to its funding of hydrogen energy projects for the 2013 fiscal year, considering hydrogen to be a distant-future solution to an immediate problem.