Government Wants Hydrogen Vehicles

The U.S. government has launched a partnership with domestic automakers to spur the growth
of hydrogen fuel cells to power the next generation of cars and trucks. This would also
reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut tailpipe emissions. The program, called Freedom
Cooperative Automotive Research, replaces the Partnership for a New Generation Vehicle
program started by the Clinton administration to develop a vehicle that could attain 80
miles per gallon fuel-efficiency. A fuel cell produces energy from a chemical reaction when
hydrogen is combined with oxygen. The only byproduct is water. In recent years, the cost of
fuel cells has dropped sharply. Hydrogen can be produced from natural gas aboard vehicles;
or pure hydrogen can be used, requiring development of a new supply infrastructure. The
program will also work on developing a hydrogen refueling system.


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