WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) commends President Bush's commitment to the research and development of hydrogen-powered automobiles through the FreedomFUEL Initiative. The NHA believes the President's proposal to allocate $1.2 billion shows a firm dedication to the development of a hydrogen infrastructure which will be necessary to build a hydrogen economy. The funding, part of Bush's energy security plan "to promote energy independence ... while dramatically improving the environment," is a large step forward for hydrogen as the link between the fossil fuels of today and the clean, self-sufficient energy of tomorrow. "We're thrilled with President Bush's commitment and the emphasis he placed on developing applications for hydrogen," commented NHA President, Jeff Serfass. "Particularly, we support the President's recognition that hydrogen will play an important role in ensuring energy security as well as protecting the environment." Bush's proposal is the most recent in a series of initiatives that the Administration has supported since the announcement of its National Energy Policy, in May 2001. The National Energy Policy proposed that hydrogen would be an important clean energy carrier for the future. Later, in January 2002, FreedomCAR was announced, the Cooperative for Automotive Research between General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler, which was designed to address the need for the development of fuel cell technology. "Ford supports and applauds the President's initiative to strengthen the hydrogen fuel and fuel cell research programs in the U.S.," reports Carolyn Brown, Ford's Manager of Environmental and Safety Public Affairs. "[The President's Address] complements the FreedomCAR program by engaging energy providers under the President's FreedomFUEL Initiative to develop a hydrogen fuel infrastructure." Today, the common denominator among NHA members has been an appreciation for this energized federal support and the recognition that we must build a hydrogen infrastructure to support the development of hydrogen-powered automobiles. This framework of policy and implementation will be essential to implementing the "technological innovations" which Bush says will drive "the greatest environmental progress of this century." "The President's hydrogen initiative will put the Nation on the best pathway towards greater energy independence and a better environment," said Ken Cole, General Motors' Vice President of Government Relations. "We're very encouraged by the initial description of the President's plan." BMW also expressed enthusiasm. "We are pleased that the President has emphasized the importance of hydrogen as a future fuel for automobiles," said Karl-Heinz Ziwica, General Manager of BMW of North America. "We hope that this program will also focus on the infrastructure and related technologies for the fuel cell." The FreedomFUEL Initiative, combined with industry investments will ensure the commercialization of fuel cells by first building a sound foundation for the commercialization of hydrogen. Currently, auto manufacturers are developing hydrogen-powered automobiles using both fuel cells (where hydrogen is converted through a chemical reaction with oxygen to produce electricity and water), and internal combustion engines for propulsion. "The NHA looks forward to working with our members and partners to maintain a national focus on hydrogen as the "FreedomFUEL," said NHA Chairman and ChevronTexaco Technology Ventures VP of Hydrogen Systems, Gene Nemanich. "Hydrogen is an important part of the answer to the Nation's ever-growing energy demand, energy security and our responsibility to protect the environment." About the National Hydrogen Association The NHA has seventy members, including energy companies, automotive manufacturers, industrial gas suppliers, fuel cell developers, and other businesses, large and small, as well as government, and academia. Although membership is diverse, all are interested in the future of hydrogen as an energy carrier, and dedicated to commercializing hydrogen-related energy systems. The mission of the National Hydrogen Association is to foster the development of hydrogen technologies and their utilization in industrial and commercial applications and promote the transition role of hydrogen in the energy field. For more information on the National Hydrogen Association or the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier, please visit the NHA website at http://www.HydrogenUS.org , or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The National Hydrogen Association's 14th Annual U.S. Hydrogen Conference and Expo USA will be held this March 4-6 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C. This year's theme is "Energy Security through Hydrogen." Register or find out more information at http://www.HydrogenConference.org .
SOURCE National Hydrogen Association