February 1, 2006

White House: The Advanced Energy Initiative

Posted on the White House website is a press release fleshing out more details of the Advanced Energy Initiative mentioned in the President's State of the Union speech on January 31, 2006. Excerpts below relate to subjects covered in this BioConversion Blog - cellulosic ethanol, biorefineries, hybrid automobiles, pollution, and hydrogen fuel cells.


The Advanced Energy Initiative

In His State Of The Union Address, President Bush Outlined The Advanced Energy Initiative To Help Break America's Dependence On Foreign Sources Of Energy. The President has set a national goal of replacing more than 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. With America on the verge of breakthroughs in advanced energy technologies, the best way to break the addiction to foreign oil is through new technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources. Tonight, the President announced the Advanced Energy Initiative, which provides for a 22% increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy (DOE). The Initiative will accelerate our breakthroughs in two vital areas; how we power our homes and businesses; and how we power our automobiles.

Changing The Way We Power Our Automobiles

We Are On The Verge Of Dramatic Improvements In How We Power Our Automobiles, And The President's Initiative Will Bring Those Improvements To The Forefront. The United States must move beyond a petroleum-based economy and develop new ways to power automobiles. The President wants to accelerate the development of domestic, renewable alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuels. The Administration will accelerate research in cutting-edge methods of producing "cellulosic ethanol" with the goal of making the use of such ethanol practical and competitive within 6 years. The Administration will also step up the Nation's research in better batteries for use in hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.

  • The Biorefinery Initiative. To achieve greater use of "homegrown" renewable fuels in the United States, advanced technologies need to be perfected to make fuel ethanol from cellulosic (plant fiber) biomass, which is now discarded as waste. The President's 2007 Budget will include $150 million – a $59 million increase over FY06 – to help develop bio-based transportation fuels from agricultural waste products, such as wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Research scientists say that accelerating research into "cellulosic ethanol" can make it cost-competitive by 2012, offering the potential to displace up to 30% of the Nation's current fuel use.

  • Developing More Efficient Vehicles. Current hybrids on the road run on a battery developed at the DOE. The President's plan would accelerate research in the next generation of battery technology for hybrid vehicles and "plug-in hybrids." Current hybrids can only use the gasoline engine to charge the on-board battery. A "plug-in" hybrid can run either on electricity or on gasoline and can be plugged into the wall at night to recharge its batteries. These vehicles will enable drivers to meet most of their urban commuting needs with virtually no gasoline use. Advanced battery technologies offer the potential to significantly reduce oil consumption in the near-term. The 2007 Budget includes $30 million – a $6.7 million increase over FY06 – to speed up the development of this battery technology and extend the range of these vehicles.

  • The Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush announced a $1.2 billion Hydrogen Fuel Initiative to develop technology for commercially viable hydrogen-powered fuel cells, which would power cars, trucks, homes, and businesses with no pollution or greenhouse gases. Through private-sector partnerships, the Initiative and related FreedomCAR programs will make it practical and cost-effective for Americans to use clean, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2020. The President's 2007 Budget will provide $289 million – an increase of $53 million over FY06 – to accelerate the development of hydrogen fuel cells and affordable hydrogen-powered cars. Through the President's program, the cost of a hydrogen fuel cell has been cut by more than 50% in just four years.

  • America Must Act Now To Reduce Dependence On Foreign Sources Of Energy. There are an estimated 250 million vehicles on America's highways, and Americans will purchase more than 17 million vehicles this year. It will take approximately 15 years to switch America's automobiles over to more fuel efficient technologies. The sooner breakthroughs are achieved, the better for America.
  • No comments: