Hydrogen fuel cells gaining momentum with the U.S. governmentJune 21, 2012
Despite political division, fuel cells continue to gain support
Hydrogen fuel has had a turbulent past in the U.S. Over the past two presidential administrations, hydrogen fuel cells have been a subject of interest and disdain. The political perspective of the energy systems continues to shift, seemingly on a daily basis, and these fluctuations have stymied the growth of the fuel cell industry in the country. Despite the apparent political division concerning hydrogen fuel cells, the auto industry is on schedule to release hydrogen powered vehicles in the near future. If the U.S. cannot find some stability with its views on hydrogen fuel cells and take action to support the fuel cell industry, it may not be a player in the future of hydrogen transportation.
Hydrogen fuel cells present promising opportunity for the economy
This week, two aides to President Barack Obama noted that fuel cells present a promising opportunity for the U.S. The aides suggested that hydrogen-powered vehicles could be a lucrative market for the U.S. and could assist in economic recovery. Scott Samuelsen, director of the Department of Energy’s National Fuel Cell Research Center, notes that much has changed in the past nine months concerning the administration’s views on hydrogen fuel cells.
Shifting government perspective has yet to produce action
According to Samuelsen, the government’s outlook on hydrogen fuel cells has improved. The administration has become more open to the prospect of supporting the country’s fuel cell industry and paving the way for hydrogen-powered vehicles to find success within the U.S. Much of this enthusiasm has yet to take form, however, as the government has taken modest actions to support hydrogen fuel cells. In order for the country to reap to potential economic benefits of hydrogen transportation, it must take aggressive action by 2015.
Major automakers to release hydrogen-powered vehicles with or without government assistance
This is the year that most major automakers plan to introduce their hydrogen-powered vehicles to the commercial market. These vehicles are expected to fare well in countries like Japan and Germany, where a hydrogen fuel infrastructure has begun taking root. This success may be impossible for the U.S. to mimic, however, if it does not work to bolster its existing hydrogen fuel infrastructure. Cost and efficiency continue to be major detractors to hydrogen fuel cells, however, and may cause many politicians to continue shunning the energy systems.
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