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November 20, 2003

Secretary of Energy Abraham Joins International Community to Establish the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy

15 Countries, EC Sign Terms of Reference, Supports President Bush's Hydrogen Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, joined by Ministers representing 14 nations and the European Commission, today signed an agreement formally establishing the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE). Secretary Abraham called for the creation of the IPHE in his speech to the International Energy Agency Ministerial in Paris, France on April 28, 2003.

"Today marks a significant advancement in countries from around the globe working together for a safe and environmentally benign hydrogen economy," Secretary Abraham said. "The vision of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy is that a participating country’s consumers will have the practical option of purchasing a competitively priced hydrogen power vehicle, and be able to refuel it near their homes and places of work, by 2020."

Representatives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Commission (EC), France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Russia, UK and the United States signed the Terms of Reference formally creating the IPHE as an international mechanism to coordinate hydrogen research and hydrogen technology development and deployment.

These countries share a common interest in pre-competitive research and development cooperation that will support the future deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Building a safe, efficient and economical world-wide infrastructure for hydrogen production, storage, transport, distribution and use is a challenge that will require the best planning and expertise from around the world. International cooperation will also help countries to more efficiently achieve national hydrogen and fuel cell technology program goals for both transportation systems and stationary applications.

The IPHE will provide a mechanism to organize, evaluate and coordinate multinational research, development and deployment programs that advance the transition to a global hydrogen economy. The IPHE will: leverage limited resources; bring together the world’s best intellectual skills and talents to solve difficult problems; and develop interoperable technology standards. It will foster public-private collaboration that addresses the technological, financial and institutional barriers to a cost-competitive, standardized, widely accessible, safe and environmentally benign hydrogen economy.

"In his State of the Union address in January of this year, the President announced his Hydrogen Fuel Initiative to concurrently develop the large-scale fuel production and distribution infrastructure necessary for the mass deployment of hydrogen-powered vehicles," Abraham said. "President Bush’s vision is that children born today will have the opportunity to purchase and drive a hydrogen powered, pollution free vehicle."

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