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Environment

DOE releases hydrogen plan

March 22, 2004 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 82, ISSUE 12

The Department of Energy last week released its "Hydrogen Posture Plan," which outlines the Administration's $1.2 billion path to create a hydrogen-based energy economy by 2030 to 2040. The department says the Administration intends to have fuel-cell vehicles and an infrastructure ready for the mass market by 2020. The Administration's plan focuses on transportation because the plan's driver, DOE stresses, is the reduction of U.S. dependence on foreign oil. However, the Administration, in announcing the plan, also discusses its relationship to other energy systems, such as nuclear and coal, which would be used either to generate hydrogen directly or to provide the energy needed to extract hydrogen from other compounds. Several recent reports, although applauding hydrogen's use, have questioned if such a hydrogen-based energy system can be created within the Administration's time frame, and they have asked if a "bridge technology" might be needed to reduce energy use and cut greenhouse gases while DOE invests in hydrogen R&D. The report is available at http://www.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells.

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