New proposed budget cuts for hydrogen fuel cell research in U.S.February 20, 2011
The budget for hydrogen technology and fuel cells programs will go through a reduction according the budget proposal for 2012 that was recently released by the Administration.
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy from the Department of Energy proposed a cut in the budget to around $70 million. This is lower by 41% from the budget that was set for 2010. In line with this cut will be the increase on the budget for other clean energy and technology programs wherein it is proposed that $8 billion will be allocated for these programs. Steven Chu, the secretary of DOE claims that these cuts are necessary for the fiscal responsibility wherein there should be shared sacrifice among the departments.
The highest budget for hydrogen fuel cells was around $206 million during the 2008 fiscal year under the leadership of former President George Bush. This amount went down to only $200 million the following year, and was further decreased in 2010 to $174. This was in opposition to the recommendation of Chu that it should be reduced by $100 million.
According to Chu, the budget should concentrate on the technological advancements that can be utilized in the near term and is targeted at a larger popula
tion. This will then be for gas-electric hybrids as well as electrically powered vehicles. The recent proposal also is recommending a high increase to fund the development of batteries for these hybrid vehicles.
People who are supporting the hydrogen and fuel cell programs are set on contesting this said proposal, stressing on the amounts that were spent on the researches done during the past years. They claim that most U.S. companies are geared on developing technologies using fuel cells and hydrogen energy and that is something that should not be given up.