Bush Supports Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology

February 06, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

President George W. Bush urged Congress to "think beyond the normal" and approve his plan to spur development of clean-burning hydrogen fuel cells to power cars that he said would reduce pollution and America's foreign oil dependence. In a National Building Museum speech, Bush promoted his request for $1.2 billion in federal money over five years into hydrogen fuel cell research.

First announced in his State of the Union address, Bush promised "a new national commitment" to take fuel-cell-powered cars "from laboratory to showrooms" within the next 20 years. Of the money proposed, just $720 million would represent additional spending beyond what is already planned for fuel cell research. The new program — called "Freedom Fuel" by the White House — would focus on spurring research to develop the technologies and infrastructure needed to produce, store and distribute hydrogen for use in future fuel-cell vehicles or stationary electric-generating facilities.

The President spent about 20 minutes watching demonstrations and touring exhibits of hydrogen fuel cell technology - pointing a hydrogen-powered television camera at reporters; making a phone call on a fuel cell mobile phone; and inspecting a lineup of fuel cell vehicles and scooters.

"If you're interested in our environment and if you're interested in doing what's right for the American people, if you're tired of the same old endless struggles that seem to produce nothing but noise and high bills, let us promote hydrogen fuel cells as a way to advance into the 21st century," Bush stated. "What we do today can make a tremendous difference for the future of America."