WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 12, 2000à‚–The US Energy Department will have more than $100 million for fuel cell related programs in the new fiscal year, including $52.7 million for stationery fuel cell programs, $10 million more than the Clinton administration asked.
The money was included in the Interior Appropriation bill, President Clinton signed Wednesday. The US House and Senate jointly agreed upon $52.7 million for stationary fuel cells, $10 million more than requested, and approved the full request of $41.5 million for transportation fuel cell research, and $5.5 million for buildings.
The stationary fuel cell program will fund research and development to cut costs and improve performance leading to commercial fuel cell power systems within 3 years, support prototype testing at a commercial site, and fund hybrid fuel cell power system research.
“This is the first time in recent memory that Congress fully funded the Department of Energy’s fuel cell research budget,” said Robert Rose, executive director of Breakthrough Technologies Institute/Fuel Cells 2000. “We hope this marks a watershed for fuel cell funding,”
The bill allocates $41.5 million to transportation fuel cell research such as integrating fuel cell stacks with fuel processors and balance-of-plant technologies for testing. The program will also address technology barriers to fuel-flexible fuel cell systems for automotive applications.
The fuel cells for building program will receive $5.5 million, a 55% increase over 2000,which will be used to develop a prototype fuel processor, complete the design competition for a 50 kw cogenerator for buildings, and other research and development.
Fuel cells generate electricity without combustion by harnessing the energy created when hydrogen and oxygen are chemically combined. Numerous private companies are pursuing commercialization of the technology.