The internal combustion engine has served the transportation industry admirably since its introduction by Henry Ford. Steady progress has been made over the last century in improving the engine itself and the liquid gasoline fuel. Rising costs of petroleum, global warming fears, and concerns that nations are exhausting their reserves of petroleum have fueled a global interest in the hydrogen economy. The Bush Administration support for research through the FreedomCAR initiative has the U.S. and the rest of the world working on the research issues facing the introduction of the hydrogen economy. What are these challenges and can they be overcome? Is the hydrogen economy just hype or is it feasible to consider that future cars and trucks will be powered by hydrogen? This symposium will address the issue of safe and efficient hydrogen storage, which has been identified as a key requirement for a future hydrogen economy.

The Department of Energy (DOE) working with the U.S. Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) and the energy companies has developed technical performance targets for hydrogen storage systems for light duty vehicles. To help meet these targets, in July 2003 the DOE issued a "Grand Challenge" to the global scientific community for research and development in hydrogen storage. This "Grand Challenge" called for the establishment of hydrogen storage Centers of Excellence on Metal Hydrides, Chemical Hydrogen Storage, and Carbon-Based Materials, with multiple university, industry, and federal laboratory partners. In addition, independent projects were solicited on new materials and concepts, off-board hydrogen storage systems, and analyses of life-cycle cost, performance, and environmental impact. At this symposium experts working on the hydrogen storage challenge will describe their latest achievements and put into perspective how these novel hydrogen storage methods may achieve current and future DOE and vehicle company goals.

This symposium will be of interest to executives, scientists, and engineers from the car and truck industry as well as to energy companies who are uncertain whether or not to seriously invest in the hydrogen economy. Utility executives and materials suppliers will be interested in the changes that will come from using hydrogen as a fuel. Global researchers and business leaders will want to keep abreast of this rapidly developing global effort to make the hydrogen economy a reality.