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The fuel cell industry asked Congress and the incoming Obama Administration on December 18 to set aside $1.2 billion in the planned stimulus package for fuel cells and their fuels.
“Accelerating investment into fuel cells now will foster green power, advance a critical climate-enhancing technology, accelerate job creation and keep innovation, industrial capacity and jobs at home,” said Robert Rose, executive director of the US Fuel Cell Council. The investment would produce an estimated 24,000 jobs, Rose said.
“Fully funding fuel cell programs at levels authorized by Congress and utilizing other laws already on the books will put hundreds of fuel cell vehicles and up to 100 megawatts of fuel cell power into customers’ hands, reap efficiency, environmental and security benefits and create green jobs and high-tech manufacturing capacity for the American economy.”
The industry program calls for lease and purchases of fuel cells by federal civilian and military agencies for power generation and as battery alternatives, investment in supporting fueling infrastructure, improving federal investment tax credits for fuel cells and extending a credit to fuels. It also includes expanding learning demonstrations, accelerating research, and supporting an expansion of manufacturing capability at fuel cell companies and key suppliers, to foster a supply base and develop domestic momentum for jobs and expansion.
Fuel cells generate electricity and heat electrochemically, providing overall energy efficiencies of up to 80 percent, or even higher. Fuel cells produce benefits in all applications – power generation, industrial equipment, transportation, military power and consumer electronics. Because fuel cells are electrochemical systems and do not rely on combustion they are the cleanest fuel-consuming energy technology, with near-zero smog-causing emissions. They are essential to the nation’s response to climate change.
Fuel cells and hydrogen can help provide stability and continuity to the electric grid since they can provide continuous “base load” power in parallel with or independent of the grid. In addition, they can support intermittent renewable energy. These attributes make them ideal resources for supporting critical loads for military and civilian consumers.