U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, center, and U.S. Reps. Ted Poe and Kevin Brady, made a recent visit to the Advanced Fuel Cell Research lab at Lamar University.

Lamar University is on the front lines of developing new energy systems for the U.S. military with its Advanced Fuel Cell Research laboratory.

On July 6, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, visited the Lamar campus and toured the lab with U.S. Reps. Ted Poe, R-Humble, representative for District 2, and U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, representative for District 8.

Lamar University President James Simmons praised the lawmakers for their support of the program.

"Lamar University is indeed fortunate to have such stellar support from Senator Hutchison and Congressmen Brady and Poe for the innovative research being performed here on Lamar's campus," Simmons was quoted in a University press release.

Lamar's Fuel Cell and Energy Research Lab is conducting research to meet the needs of the U. S. military by developing clean and efficient energy systems for its strategic missions. This includes the generation of chemically stored energy in systems that produce hydrogen from conventional and renewable sources.

In the future, the technology could also be used to utilize non-polluting hydrogen energy for the United States.

"A comprehensive strategy to unleash the power of free minds and free markets so we can explore and produce energy in America will strengthen our national security and solidify our global economic leadership," Hutchison said. "With its renowned research institutions and vast supply of untapped renewable energy resources, Texas is poised to invent the breakthrough sources that will help fuel the world in the 21st century."

She is sponsoring a new sustainable energy related project, Senate bill S.1020, the Creating Energy through Science and Technology Act (CREST). Hutchison introduced S. 1020 March 28. CREST directs the National Science Foundation to create a Council on Renewable Energy (CORE) comprising the Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce, state agencies, industry representatives, and laboratories.

CORE will advise Congress on national renewable energy development, strategy, research, and the marketability of renewable technologies. The most important function of the CORE will be its responsibility to report to Congress on the required funding levels for each of these areas as well as make policy recommendations. Ultimately, the goal of the CREST Act is to lessen and shrink the time needed to develop these renewable sources for the marketplace.

CREST will focus on five areas of renewable energy: offshore wind, wave, solar, geothermal, and alternative feed stocks for ethanol, particularly cellulosic ethanol.

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