Manchin Urges Congressional Action To Decarbonize Transportation Sector, Highlights Wealth Of Opportunities In Sustainable Transportation Technologies

March 16, 2021

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine ways to strengthen research and development in innovative transportation technologies. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, highlighted the unique opportunity America currently has to advance sustainable transportation technologies to decrease emissions, reduce domestic reliance on foreign supply chains, and increase American manufacturing.

“The United States has been a leader of innovation in the transportation sector since Robert Fulton created the first commercially successful steamboat in 1807. [And now], as we face the climate challenge, American innovation in transportation technologies will once again lead the way in the vehicles and fuels of the future,” said Chairman Manchin. “At 28% of our emissions, it’s clear that we’ve got to get to work on the transportation sector. Whether it’s the batteries that power electric vehicles or electrolyzers that produce hydrogen from water, we’ve got to advance the technologies needed for the vehicles of the future and their supply chains. The United States can and should be the leader in clean transportation with help from research and development at the Department of Energy and the National Labs. In addition, the opportunities for manufacturing in sustainable transportation technologies are plentiful and can create good paying jobs right here at home when we need them most.”

Chairman Manchin also highlighted the advantages of hydrogen fuel cell technology and questioned witnesses on the benefits of the technology’s potential increased application and use.

“I am very intrigued by hydrogen fuel cell technology because the fuel cells vehicles, like EVs, produce electricity without combustion or emissions and do not rely on a lithium battery. In what applications do you see the most potential for hydrogen?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“Over the last 20 years we’ve been developing [hydrogen] technology. We’re now on our second-generation [hydrogen fuel cell] stack technology, which is allowing us to produce stacks in much larger quantities. It’s a very scalable technology. Replacing a diesel vehicle with a zero emissions vehicle – particularly a fuel cell – is beneficial for reducing carbon emissions and also pollution,” said Robert Wimmer, Director, Energy and Environmental Research Group, Toyota Motor North America.

“The energy and density, emissions, weight, and fueling preference of hydrogen make it an ideal energy carrier. But in order to use hydrogen, we need to make hydrogen fuel. And that can be produced domestically from renewable energy or in a carbon neutral way with natural gas and carbon capture and sequestration - which means we think hydrogen is an ideal fuel for energy dense applications like long-haul trucking, marine, mining, and rail,” said Tony Satterthwaite, Vice Chairman, Cummins.

Chairman Manchin also raised concerns about the lack of domestic EV battery recycling capability. Several witnesses echoed Chairman Manchin’s concerns and outlined approaches to address the problem.

The hearing featured witnesses from the U.S. Department of Energy, Responsible Battery Coalition, Clarios, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Cummins, and Toyota Motor North America. To read their testimony click here. 

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.