Wednesday, September 2, 2009

US Energy Secretary Chu Announces Nearly $300 Million in Grants to Support Clean Fuels, Vehicles, and Infrastructure Development

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: On Wednesday, August 26, the US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced in a speech and on the US Department of Energy (DOE) website the selection of 25 cost-share projects under the Clean Cities program that will be funded with nearly $300 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects will speed the transformation of the nation’s vehicle fleet, putting more than 9,000 alternative fuel and energy efficient vehicles on the road, and establishing 542 refueling locations across the country. The Department of Energy also estimates they will help displace approximately 38 million gallons of petroleum per year.

“The Clean Cities program is helping give state and local governments the tools they need to build a greener transportation system that will create new jobs and help to put America on the path to a clean energy future,” said Secretary Chu. “Advancing the number of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles on the road will increase our energy security, decrease our dependence on oil, and reduce pollution across the country.”

Under the Recovery Act, the Clean Cities program will fund a range of energy efficient and advanced vehicle technologies, such as hybrids, electric vehicles, plug-in electric hybrids, hydraulic hybrids and compressed natural gas vehicles, helping reduce petroleum consumption across the U.S. In addition, funding will support refueling infrastructure for various alternative fuel vehicles, including biofuels and natural gas. Other efforts under the Clean Cities program include public education and training initiatives to further the program’s goal of reducing the national demand for petroleum.

The projects announced by Secretary Chu will support a combined total of more than 9,000 light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles and establish 542 refueling locations across the country. The vehicles and infrastructure being funded include the use of natural and renewable gas, propane, ethanol, biodiesel, electricity, and hybrid technologies. And with the cost share contributions from the recipients, every federal dollar spent will be matched by nearly two dollars from the project partners.

The DOE announcement has several implications for Blue Fuel/DME producers. First, it means that the United States government is taking alternative fuels seriously - clearly a good thing. Secondly, because Blue Fuel/DME is hydrogen rich and can readily be reformed into hydrogen, it is an excellent fuel for onboard hydrogen reforming in hydrogen-powered vehicles. Finally, since natural-gas vehicles are being promoted by the DOE, the need for carbon capture of excess CO2 from natural gas processing plants becomes even more critical. Through the process of active sequestration - the recycling of carbon dioxide for the production of commercial products - combined with renewable energy, we can produce an alternative fuel (Blue Fuel) that represents an immediate solution to the CO2 emissions problems facing natural gas producers all over North America - and, hopefully, even beyond.

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