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Federal Hydrogen Fuel Cell Funding Restored

We received some very impassioned comments back in May when the Obama Administrations cut hydrogen fuel cell funding for research and development. Several readers felt that a huge opportunity for a long-term eco-friendly vehicle solution had been missed.

Well, those same readers will be pleased to know that Senator Byron Dorgan (D) and the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which he heads, has overturned the DOE’s initial slashing of the hydrogen fuel cell research budget.

The subcommittee has finished altering the DOE’s 2010 budget to now include $190 million for hydrogen research and development.

So tell us what you think? Waste of money or is hydrogen fuel research that might benefit the proliferation of hydrogen vehicles like the Honda FCX Clarity (pictured above) a good investment for the future?

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Obama Administration Cuts Hydrogen Fuel Cell Funding

While the Obama Administration is definitely behind green initiatives and reducing vehicular carbon emissions, they have officially started cutting ties with hydrogen fuel-cell technology in favor of plug-in electric vehicles.

The DOE secretary Steven Chu stated yesterday that hydrogen vehicles are still 10 to 20 years from being practical and consequently the federal government will be dropping millions of dollars of hydrogen fuel cell funding from next year’s budget.

This announcement was in stark contrast to what Chu stated several weeks ago when he announced that $41.9 million for hydrogen projects.

Obviously the latest announcement has ruffled some feathers. The National Hydrogen Association immediately fired off a statement that decries the cuts as stifling to hydrogen fuel cell technology development, which they claim is showing “exceptional promise and beginning to gain market traction.”

A sentiment reflected in the fact that this year’s New York Auto Show named the hydrogen fuel cell powered Honda FCX Clarity (pictured above) was named the World Green Car of the Year.

What do you think? Is hydrogen technology worth investing in or is the Obama Administration right to just focus on electric cars?

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DOE Invests $41.9 Million into Hydrogen Fuel Cells

With all the talk about investing in electric and hybrid cars and the necessary infrastructure it’s easy to forget about hydrogen fuel cells.

There are still plenty of hardcore hydrogen proponents and with the Honda FCX Clarity (pictured above) winning the Green Car of the Year Award it’s no wonder.

It also seems the Department of Energy (DOE) has not forgotten about hydrogen powered vehicle either. In what they have described as an effort to lay “the foundation for a green energy eonomy,” the DOE is putting $41.9 million from the Stimulus Bill into hydrogen fuel cell technology. They predict this will lead to an immediate deployment of almost 1,000 new hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Bankrupt auto parts supplier Delphi will make use of a $2.4 million grant allowing for the development of a 3-5kW solid oxide fuel cell auxiliary power unit for class 8 trucks.

While this should help hydrogen fuel cells see more action while creating new jobs hydrogen vehicle proponents might still be a little ticked off that at the relative difference of the $41.9 million for hydrogen compared to the more than $2 billion that is going towards advanced battery research for electric vehicles.

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Honda FCX Clarity Named World Green Car

At the New York Auto Show this morning, the Honda FCX Clarity was named the World Green Car.

The list of 22 candidates was made of cars which had at least 10 produced and were either being driven by owners or were operating in test fleets. Among the top vote-getters along with Honda were the Toyota iQ and the Mitsubishi iMiEV.

The FCX Clarity is interestingly enough, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. So that makes for a point for hydrogen vehicles in their eternal battle against electric and hybrid cards for the title of best choice for the future of automotive drive trains.

Where do you think the future lies? It’s a hot topic but we’d love to know where you stand on the battle between hyrdrogen vehicles and electric cars.

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World Green Car of the Year Finalists Announced

The three World Green Car of the Year finalists were announced yesterday and they are: the Toyota iQ, the Mitsubishi iMiEV and the Honda FCX Clarity (pictured above).

The Toyota iQ is a diminutive four-seater. It runs off an impressive 1.0 liter engine that can get up to 67 mpg and has already won its own share of awards, including Japan’s Car of the Year Award.

The Mitsubishi iMiEV is an all-electric vehicle that has boasts outstanding handling and impressive acceleration. This sub-compact electric vehicle has an 85-mile range and a top speed of 80 mph.

The Honda FCX Clarity, is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle with a 270 mile range on a full tank. Why calculate the range? Because you need to always be in range of one of the few filling stations out there. California, one of the few places to make a concerted effort to establish hydrogen fuel stations, still only has 24 to date. Will hydrogen be able to make the leap to a feasible infrastructure? Who knows, but it sure is tempting considering they run completely emission-free. Yes, I know, generating the hydrogen and running the stations isn’t emission free. If you have a problem with hydrogen fuel-cell cars take it up with the Governator.

Last year’s winner was the BMW 118d – a diesel car that gets 60 mpg. This year’s winner will be chosen on April 9.

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