Hydrogen fuel to be tested at Tahoe: Tests funded with $1 million federal grant | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hydrogen fuel to be tested at Tahoe: Tests funded with $1 million federal grant

Gregory Crofton

The 2005 federal budget approved by Congress at the end of November provided $1 million to test cars fueled by hydrogen in the colder temperatures of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“This is no small thing. This will put Tahoe on the map, ” said Richard Goodstein, a lobbyist for Air Products and Chemicals, a Pennsylvania-based company that’s considered the largest producer of hydrogen in the world.

“We will be deploying mobile hydrogen fueling stations (at Tahoe) and working with auto company partners to test the functioning of hydrogen fuel cell cars in cold weather to figure out things like how much mileage cars get on certain volumes of hydrogen, and if they start up as quickly,” Goodstein said.

The funding is part of a $5 million grant approved by the Department of Energy for the California Hydrogen Infrastructure Project. It is a five-year program that aims to establish a hydrogen infrastructure in California that includes up to 24 fueling stations.

The $5 million grant will be split between businesses dedicated to the project. They include: Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Toyota Motor Sales USA, American Honda Motor Co. Inc., Nissan North America Inc., BMW, ConocoPhillips, the National Fuel Cell Research Center at UC Irvine, UC Davis, and the California South Coast Air Quality Management District.

Testing at Tahoe could begin later this year or early in 2006 depending on when the Department of Energy releases the grant money, Goodstein said.

Goodstein said he credits Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, for obtaining the money for the hydrogen project while serving as a member of the Energy and Water Development Committee, a subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. Two weeks ago Doolittle was appointed vice chairman of the Energy and Water Development Committee.

“Last year Congressman Doolittle secured $1 million to help clean up the water and air through hydrogen fuel research,” said Laura Blackann, spokeswoman for Doolittle. “He plans to continue to seek funding for research and development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, but we’ll have to wait and see. We have to go through the whole budget process again this year. So it’s too early to tell.”

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