Friday, July 10, 2009

Obama administration says research and development key to innovation

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: The Obama administration in the United States has made innovation in the field of alternative energy a cornerstone of their platform to advance the American economy. To support this strategy, the Department of Energy (DOE) is funding many research and development projects.

One example is a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-000103) designed to encourage research and development in the field of hydrogen extraction from coal. While the $five million grant is not huge, it demonstrates a belief that alternative fuel technologies could lead the way out of the current global recession and provide many of the answers to the current global climate crisis.

The DOE states: “This program is designed to support the Department of Energy (DOE) Strategic Plan by providing core competencies related to Hydrogen Separations Technologies. The specific objective of this activity is to competitively solicit projects under the Hydrogen and Clean Fuels program area to develop novel Hydrogen Production technologies. The goal of the Hydrogen and Clean Fuels program is to develop advanced and novel energy technologies which will facilitate the use of our nation’s abundant coal resources to produce, deliver, store, and utilize affordable hydrogen in an environmentally clean manner. The program helps to reduce environmental concerns associated with energy use in automotive and stationary power applications through clean production of hydrogen from coal in tandem with carbon sequestration, and will ensure availability of hydrogen in sufficient volumes for fuel cell-powered vehicles expected to enter the transportation market sector in the future.”

Although the emphasis of the research is on developing sufficient hydrogen resources for a future based on hydrogen-fueled vehicles, the potential to use new technologies developed under this program to produce other alternative fuels, such as Blue Fuel/DME, is evident.

The type of forward-thinking commitment to funding research and development exemplified here by the DOE should serve as a model for all governments looking for answers to the challenges the world is currently facing.

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