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DOE funding for hydrogen technology reduced by more than 40 percent

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu detailed President Barack Obama's $29.5 billion Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy, which now affects hydrogen power development.

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In the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DOE reduced funding for the hydrogen technology program by nearly $70 million in order to focus on technologies deployable at large scale in the near term.

According to the news release, the FY 2012 budget makes tough choices, cutting programs and expenses to underscore the Administration's commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Question is

Will this so-called shared sacrifice shoot the automotive hydrogen future in the foot or in the head?

Are we saving the interim EV lithium-ion at the expense of the hydrogen fuel cell future?

Fact is every major auto manufacturer has developed or is in development of fuel cell technology that will able to generate on-board electricity using hydrogen as a fuel.

GM has the HydroGEN; even Hyundai has the Tucson ix FCEV which debuts at the FC&CH 2011 in Washington, DC this week.

According to Administration rhetoric

The cuts are merely part of an Administration-wide plan to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating and out-building the rest of the world.

Still, the President's Energy Budget is touted as an investment in innovation, clean energy, and national security priorities.

According to Secretary Chu, "The United States faces a choice today: will we lead in innovation and out-compete the rest of the world or will we fall behind? To lead the world in clean energy, we must act now. We can't afford not to. Through our investments, we are laying the groundwork for the nation's future prosperity and security. While we are investing in areas that are critical to our future, we are also rooting out programs that aren't needed and making hard choices to tighten our belt. Additionally, we are improving our management and operations so we function more efficiently and effectively."

Specifically the President's FY 2012 budget request for the Department of Energy:

  • Puts the nation on the path to reach a bold but achievable goal of generating 80% of America's electricity from clean sources by 2035 as called for by the President.
  • Supports groundbreaking basic science, research and innovation to solve our energy challenges and ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of science and technology.
  • Leads in the development and deployment of clean and efficient energy technologies to reduce our dependence on oil, accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and promote economic competitiveness; and
  • Strengthens national security by reducing nuclear dangers, maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent and cleaning up our Cold War nuclear legacy.

For more information about the Administration's Fiscal Year 2012 budget proposal for the Department of Energy, please visit

About the Author: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks and writes articles, books and ebooks via, but may be contacted here by email: [email protected] He is author of "Perfecting Corporate Character."

Additional Reading:

EIA projects gasoline retail prices to average 3.15 per gallon in 2011
DOE funded innovation to triple photosynthesis for hydrogen fuel
Cella Energy achievement may make hydrogen fill-up a reality
Not so fast with that government apology to Toyota, Mr. Cavuto
Auto industry compromise with expensive EVs fails the masses
Stop-start technology to advance more micro hybrids by 2016

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