Hydrogen-fuel Projects Receive Funding
Backers of a statewide effort to build a hydrogen-fuel economy on Monday announced funding for three programs aimed at laying a foundation for the new industry.
The Florida Hydrogen Initiative, a nonprofit organization formed last year to cultivate hydrogen-fuel projects, plans to spend nearly $1 million on the programs.
Central Florida could benefit from two of the initiatives -- one that would develop a plan for deploying hydrogen fueling stations in the Orlando area, the other to create a hydrogen technology exhibit at the Orlando Science Center.
The money comes from a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop hydrogen projects in Florida. Steve Adams, the Hydrogen Initiative's chairman, said rapidly rising gasoline prices could boost interest in hydrogen technology.
"Cost is an issue," Adams said. "Hydrogen fuel is expensive. But as the technology develops, the cost could come down."
Adams said the fledgling Hydrogen Initiative will try to pull as many hydrogen-related projects to Florida as it can.
"In North America, most of the hydrogen clusters are in Canada and on the West Coast," Adams said. "An opportunity exists for Florida in this region."
The three modest projects announced Monday were culled from 50 proposals that the Hydrogen Initiative received.
The Orlando Science Center will receive about $200,000 to develop a hydrogen technology exhibit that will travel to the state's 10 other science centers.
Rollins College, Florida Atlantic University and Arizona State University will share a $160,000 grant to create a model for deploying hydrogen fueling stations in the Orlando area. Adams said a regional refueling system is needed before hydrogen-powered vehicles can operate practically.
Finally, Ener1 Inc. will receive $550,000 to build a 10-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell to power a rest area on a Florida interstate. The fuel cell would be powered with waste gases generated from the processing of citrus.
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Copyright (c) 2005, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.