Bush May Look to Fuel Cells to End Dependence on Foreign Oil
In his State of the Union Speech tonight, President Bush may discuss the need to develop hydrogen and fuel cells to reduce dependence on foreign oil and increase the nation's energy security.
Fuel cells are electrochemical engines that make electricity without combustion. The process is inherently efficient and environmentally clean. Fuel cells utilize hydrogen as fuel. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. A huge variety of hydrogen compounds - from natural gas to biomass to plain water -- might serve as a feedstock for hydrogen fuel. Since hydrogen occurs only within compounds on earth, a variety of technologies are used to split (or "reform") hydrogen from these compounds.
Fuel cells are being developed for virtually every conceivable energy need, from battery replacements to passenger cars and buses to electricity generation for homes, businesses and factories. There is also a worldwide race to become first to the market.
Since the mid-90's, an estimated 200 fuel cell vehicles have been tested worldwide, as well as 1600 fuel cell electricity generating units and 1700 small portable power units. Some of the electricity generation units have operated more than 5 years in commercial service.
Fuel cell cars are expected to be three times more efficient than today's internal combustion engine cars. Fuel cell electricity units have achieved 85 percent efficiency when both electricity and heat are utilized, with pollution measured in ounces rather than tons.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Fuel Cells 2000/Breakthrough Technologies Institute: www.fuelcells.org. 202-785-4222. Bob Rose, Executive Director, x 11; Brian Walsh, Technical Director, x 12. (Until 8:00 p.m. Tuesday. For later comment: Rose at 301-236-9867 or Walsh at 202-415-9283)
U.S. Fuel Cell Council (115 Members): www.usfcc.com. Bernadette Geyer, Outreach Director, 202-293-5500 x13; George Earle, President: 518-782-7700 x 1339; Rhett Ross, Policy Director: 410-891-2287.
To Localize the Story: See http://www.fuelcells.org/fcdevel.htm for an interactive state-by-state list of fuel cell and hydrogen companies.
Industry Endorsed US Federal Policy Outline: www.fuelcellpath.org
Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Videos:http://www.fuelcells.org/biblio.htm#video
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