For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 6, 2003
Fact Sheet: Hydrogen Fuel: a Clean and Secure Energy Future
In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced a
$1.2 billion hydrogen fuel initiative to reverse America's
growing dependence on foreign oil by developing the technology
for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells to power
cars, trucks, homes and businesses with no pollution or
greenhouse gases. The hydrogen fuel initiative will include $720
million in new funding over the next five years to develop the
technologies and infrastructure to produce, store, and distribute
hydrogen for use in fuel cell vehicles and electricity
generation. Combined with the FreedomCAR (Cooperative Automotive
Research) initiative, President Bush is proposing a total of $1.7
billion over the next five years to develop hydrogen-powered fuel
cells, hydrogen infrastructure and advanced automotive
Under the President's hydrogen fuel initiative, the first car
driven by a child born today could be powered by fuel cells. The
hydrogen fuel initiative complements the President's existing
FreedomCAR initiative, which is developing technologies needed
for mass production of safe and affordable hydrogen-powered fuel
cell vehicles. Through partnerships with the private sector, the
hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR will make it practical
and cost-effective for large numbers of Americans to choose to
use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. This will
dramatically improve America's energy security by significantly
reducing the need for imported oil, as well as help clean our air
and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Background on Today's Presidential Action
Fuel Cells are a Proven Technology: America's astronauts have
used fuel cells to generate electricity since the 1960s, but more
work is needed to make them cost-effective for use in cars,
trucks, homes or businesses. Additional research and development
is needed to spur rapid commercialization of these technologies
so they can provide clean, domestically produced energy for
transportation and other uses.
The President's Initiatives Will Overcome Key Technical and Cost
Barriers for Fuel Cells:
Lowering the cost of hydrogen: Hydrogen is four times as
expensive to produce as gasoline (when produced from its most
affordable source, natural gas). The hydrogen fuel initiative
seeks to lower that cost enough to make fuel cell cars
cost-competitive with conventional gasoline-powered vehicles by
2010; and to advance the methods of producing hydrogen from
renewable resources, nuclear energy, and even coal.
Creating effective hydrogen storage: Hydrogen storage systems are
now inadequate for use in the wide range of vehicles that
consumers demand. New technology is needed.
Creating affordable hydrogen fuel cells: Fuel cells are now ten
times more expensive than internal combustion engines. The
FreedomCAR initiative is working to reduce that cost to
America's Energy Security is Threatened by Our Dependence on
America imports 55 percent of the oil it consumes; that is
expected to grow to 68 percent by 2025.
Nearly all of our cars and trucks run on gasoline, and they are
the main reason America imports so much oil. Two-thirds of the 20
million barrels of oil Americans use each day is used for
transportation; fuel cell vehicles offer the best hope of
dramatically reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
Hydrogen fuel Will Help Ensure America's Energy
Through the hydrogen fuel initiative and FreedomCAR, the federal
government, automakers and energy companies will work together to
overcome the technological and financial barriers to the
successful development of commercially viable, emissions-free
fuel cell vehicles that require no foreign oil.
Hydrogen is domestically available in abundant quantities as a
component of natural gas, coal, biomass, and even water.
The Department of Energy estimates that the hydrogen fuel
initiative and FreedomCAR initiatives may reduce our demand for
petroleum by over 11 million barrels per day by 2040 -
approximately the amount of oil America imports today.
Fuel Cells Will Improve Air Quality and Dramatically Reduce
Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
Vehicles are a significant source of air pollution in America's
cities and urban areas. Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity to
power cars without any pollution.
The hydrogen fuel and FreedomCAR initiatives may reduce America's
greenhouse gas emissions from transportation alone by more than
500 million metric tons of carbon equivalent each year by 2040.
Additional emissions reductions could be achieved by using fuel
cells in applications such as generating electricity for
residential or commercial uses.
Hydrogen is the Key to a Clean Energy Future:
It has the highest energy content per unit of weight of any known
When burned in an engine, hydrogen produces effectively zero
emissions; when powering a fuel cell, its only waste is water.
Hydrogen can be produced from abundant domestic resources
including natural gas, coal, biomass, and even water.
Combined with other technologies such as carbon capture and
storage, renewable energy and fusion energy, fuel cells could
make an emissions-free energy future possible.
The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative Complements President Bush's
In 2002, President Bush launched FreedomCAR, a partnership with
automakers to advance high-technology research needed to produce
practical, affordable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that American
consumers will want to buy and drive.
The hydrogen fuel initiative will develop technologies for
hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure needed to
power fuel cell vehicles and stationary fuel cell power sources.
President Bush's Budget Provides Strong Support for Hydrogen Fuel
President Bush proposes $1.7 billion in funding for the hydrogen
fuel initiative and FreedomCAR over the next five years,
including $720 million in new funding for hydrogen fuel.
The President's FY 2004 budget request for hydrogen and fuel
cell research and development and advanced automotive
technologies through the hydrogen fuel and FreedomCAR programs
is $273 million.