Hydrogen road tour makes case for fuel-cell vehicles

Rather than the expected shot in the arm from the Obama administration, backers of ultra-clean hydrogen vehicles got a punch in the gut earlier this month when the federal government recommended a dramatic cut in funds for fuel-cell research.

The proposal, cutting fuel-cell research grants 59 percent, came as industry leaders in a dozen fuel-cell vehicles prepared for a 1,700-mile, 28- stop press junket. While it would be a stretch to say the Hydrogen Road Tour became something of a funeral procession, the news did dampen the parade.

Major obstacles remain for hydrogen-powered vehicles, even after decades of research into their promise of zero-emission transportation. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said hydrogen production and storage, as well as cell durability and massive infrastructure requirements, are obstacles.

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