US secretary of energy Samuel Bodman has announced a three-year, $52.5 million solicitation to support new innovations in hydrogen technology associated with its production, use and storage.

The areas will include novel hydrogen storage materials, catalysts, and membranes.

The solicitation supports President Bush’s Advanced Energy Initiative which seeks to reduce dependence on imported oil by allowing mass-market penetration of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to begin by 2020.

The move forms part of the Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI), a 22% increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy (DOE). The 2007 budget requests more than $2.1 billion for AEI-related programmes.