Carper, Castle Help Unveil Blueprint for Breakthrough Energy Technology for the Future

WASHINGTON, DC – Fuel cells and hydrogen energy technologies promise America a cleaner energy future, Delaware Senator Tom Carper and Congressman Mike Castle said today as they joined with Delaware’s own W.L. Gore and DuPont and other industry leaders to unveil a national energy strategy for the future, based on an investment by the federal government and private sector in the research and development of hydrogen fuel cells. “As the nation debates our entry into war with Iraq, our need for greater energy self-sufficiency is clear,” said Carper, who is a member of both the U.S. Senate Energy and Environment Committees. “Fuel cells, I believe, are an important component to that security.” “Fuel cells and hydrogen energy offer environmental and energy security benefits our fossil-fuel-based economy can not. The government has an important role to play in investing in new technology and using its purchasing power to bring innovative ideas to market,” said Carper. “Industry must be our partner in providing more environmentally sound and sustainable sources of power. This blueprint is an example of that partnership.” Carper recently went to Detroit to talk to major car auto manufacturers and urged them to adopt a proactive stance in adopting fuel cell technology for their fleets. “The goal of any national energy strategy should be efficiency in production and consumption and environmental protection. As technology grows, the government and private sector must create a partnership to research and develop renewable energy resources, such a fuel cells,” Castle said. “These alternative fuels are the future of this nation’s transportation, household and business energy consumption and I am proud two Delaware companies are leading the way in the development stationary fuel cells which we will be able to use in consumer electronics, such as cell phones and palm pilots.” This year Castle has supported an increase in funding for the Department of Energy’s renewable resource research and development efforts and has sent a letter to House and Senate negotiators working out the Energy Bill in support of valuable clean energy. Industry leaders invest $1 to $3 billion annually in fuel cell research and development and are asking the federal government to increase its investment as President Bush has called for a one-third increase in funding for hydrogen fuel cell research. The industry also laid out a comprehensive strategy for developing fuel cells, detailed below: Research and Development, concentrating on materials, low-cost manufacturing processes, testing and evaluation, fuels and fuel infrastructure, and coordinated with private sector research. Demonstration and Pilot Fleets, including significant federal involvement in a full range of technology validation, prototype demonstrations and pilot fleet tests. Purchases, with the federal government acting as an early adopter of fuel cells, choosing the technology to supply an increasing share of the enormous federal power requirements, and to make up an increasing share of its vehicle purchases. Market Entry Support, including financial support such as tax incentives for early purchasers, other purchase incentives, and expansion of the successful fuel cell “buy down” program for local, state and federal governments and tax-exempt entities. Market support also includes non-financial incentives. Removing Barriers to Commercialization, by encouraging and adopting uniform national and international standards, and supportive, harmonized codes, standards and recommended practices. Education and Outreach, including outreach to decision makers and interested individuals in related professions, communication to code officials and general public education. Education programs should target students at all levels. Mid-career education should include training for specify-build-install-repair professions and trades.