It was just 6 years ago that former President Bush announced a $1.2 billion dollar initiative to accelerate hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Has the pendulum now swung the other way? Recently President Obama cut $100 million from the 2010 fiscal budget in the hydrogen fuel cell program. The reasons cited were that it is unlikely to see a major shift to a hydrogen economy in 10 to 20 years.
So where does that leave us? Ethanol? Maybe not. Several ethanol manufacturers have been filing Chapter 11.
When gas prices were $4+ a gallon, ethanol was a viable alternative. However, since gas prices have somewhat stabilized in the $2 range and corn prices have been volatile, ethanol is on the downswing. The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has started a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase the ethanol use to 15% in gasoline (currently it is capped at 10% in regular gasoline).
The slowdown in the hydrogen and ethanol fields may help automakers race to produce electric cars. Tesla Motors, the maker of the hot Tesla Roadster (available now), said this week that orders for their Tesla Model S have exceeded 1,000 reservations. This is for a car that won’t be ready until late 2011. Is this renewed interest for electric cars a paradigm shift for the auto industry?
[youtube width=”560″ height=”340″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csJ_Yk4QiDs[/youtube]
What do you think? Are we headed for a hydrogen, ethanol, or electric car economy?