Science Research Subcommittee Chairman Bob Inglis (R-SC) introduced legislation called the H-Prize Act of 2006 (H.R. 5143) Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives. The creation of a monetary “H-Prize” is designed to attract the best and brightest minds to attack technological and commercial market obstacles in moving to a hydrogen economy.
“America is treading water in a sea of rising demand for oil that includes China and India,” Inglis said. “The market is now in a position to reward those who will innovate our way to a hydrogen economy. Those innovators will create jobs, clean the air, and improve our national security.”
Modeled after the successful Ansari X-Prize awarded for entrepreneurial space flight, the three category H-Prize with a $100 million grand prize would be awarded for commercial transformational technologies that changes hydrogen technology and brings the hydrogen car to driveways around the country.
Filed with 14 co-sponsors, the three major prize categories include:
- Technological advancements – Four $1 million prizes awarded annually in the categories of hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilization.
- Prototypes – One $4 million prize awarded every other year for the creation of a working hydrogen vehicle prototype.
- Transformation technologies – A maximum $100 million prize — $10 million in cash and up to $90 million in matching funds for private capital — would be awarded for changes in hydrogen technologies that meet or exceed objective criteria in production and distribution to the consumer.
The Secretary of Energy will contract with a private foundation or panel that will include experts in the field to establish criteria for the prizes.
The legislation is the result of comments made by a group of automotive, energy, academic and political leaders met in Washington late last year to discuss the concept of the H-Prize and how to give the industry and marketplace a shove toward the hydrogen economy and demonstrate a national commitment to energy security.