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Published on August 27th, 2009 | by Christopher DeMorro

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DOE Offers $1 Million Prize For Breakthrough Hydrogen Technology

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File this one under “weaksauce”. After trying to cut research funding by hundreds of millions for hydrogen technology (most of which was restored by Congress), the Department of Energy has announced a $1 million prize for a hydrogen technology breakthrough. The contest seeks an entry that will improve current hydrogen storage issues, involving highly-pressurized tanks.

But plenty of rules, red tape, and a short deadline may shortchange this contest of its best entrants.

I just can’t take this contest seriously. First off we’re talking about the government (as a whole here, no partisanship implied), which has spent trillions of dollars on all sorts of silly research and programs. But all they can scrounge up to compel people is a million bucks? Research is expensive, folks.

I sort of understand the part about disallowing federal employees or companies working with government money on hydrogen projects already. The thought process might be wishful thinking, but maybe they are hoping to encourage backyard engineers.

Then there is the timeline. February of 2011 is the “predicted” end date. About a year and a half to come up with technology that has been researched in vain for decades. I’m not saying there isn’t an answer out there. But if Google can cough up $30 million to land a robot on the moon, surely the government can offer more than a million bucks to make hydrogen a viable alternative fuel.

Source: Green Car Advisor | Department of Energy

Photo: Kjkolb




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • russ

    Google is in to some strange things – I would not hold them up as an example on how to use money – how make money but not how to use it!

    I expect what they have in mind is a new concept on how to generate H2 – the existing methods are not efficient or use hydrocarbons and are not efficient.

    To me it is not a big lab thing where you need the mega bucks but someone new who will win the prize if it is handed out.

  • russ

    Google is in to some strange things – I would not hold them up as an example on how to use money – how make money but not how to use it!

    I expect what they have in mind is a new concept on how to generate H2 – the existing methods are not efficient or use hydrocarbons and are not efficient.

    To me it is not a big lab thing where you need the mega bucks but someone new who will win the prize if it is handed out.

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