Harlan Watson, US Department of State, noted that the US is investing in technologies that can make a difference in the long term, including energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, as well as hydrogen and fusion energy.
Robert Dixon, US Department of Energy, highlighted that hydrogen is abundant, clean, highly-efficient, reliable and can be derived from diverse domestic resources, including fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable energy sources. He underscored that hydrogen power: is not a source of energy, but an energy carrier; entails zero, or near zero, emissions; and can be used in the transportation and electricity sectors.
Dixon explained that US President Bush launched the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative in January 2003, proposing "US$1.2 billion in research funding so that America can lead the world in developing clean, hydrogen-powered automobiles." He noted that the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative complements the FreedomCAR Partnership, a partnership between the US Department of Energy and the US Council for Automotive Research to conduct pre-competitive, high-risk, and high-payoff research into advanced automotive technologies. He highlighted that through the FreedomCAR Partnership and the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative, government leadership will help to advance the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and infrastructure from 2015-2030.
Dixon also highlighted work by several other countries in the areas of hydrogen research, development and deployment, including Australia, Canada, China, Iceland, India, Italy, Germany, Singapore and the UK. He noted that the EU has committed up to €2 billion for long-term research and development of renewable and hydrogen energy technologies that are complementary to the Clean Urban Transport for Europe (CUTE) bus programme. He explained that the CUTE programme involves the introduction of 27 hydrogen fuel cell-powered buses in nine European cities, demonstrating that zero-emission public transportation is possible when ambitious political will and innovative technology are combined.
Dixon noted that Japan's research, development and demonstration programme for fuel cell and hydrogen technology has tripled in size since 1995, and aims to demonstrate, inter alia, the reliable and safe operation of hydrogen refueling stations. Highlighting that hydrogen energy could be useful for meeting the energy and development needs of developing countries, he noted that the US, among others, have worked with India to launch its hydrogen programme.
Regarding the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), Dixon outlined the Partnership's vision that by 2020, consumers in participating countries will have the option to purchase competitively-priced hydrogen power vehicles and be able to refuel near their homes and places of work. He said the goal of the IPHE is to organize, evaluate and coordinate multinational research, development and deployment programmes that advance the transition to a global hydrogen economy. He underscored that a successful partnership will: bring together the world's best intellectual skills to solve difficult problems; develop interoperable technology standards; design policy and technical guidance while leveraging resources to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technology development and deployment; foster large-scale, long-term public-private cooperation to advance hydrogen and fuel cell technology and infrastructure development; and address emerging technical, financial and policy issues and opportunities.