PARIS - The world's top economies should pool resources to develop hydrogen energy technology, limiting dependence on fossil fuels, the U.S. secretary of energy said Monday.
Spencer Abraham proposed an international partnership for hydrogen energy at the International Energy Agency, which began a meeting in Paris on Monday.
"By working together ... we can dramatically speed the day when everyone can buy a competitively priced hydrogen-powered vehicle," Abraham told reporters.
Abraham said countries could cooperate to develop technology, set safety and other standards, find ways of producing and storing hydrogen and otherwise prepare for a future "hydrogen economy."
The United States plans to spend about $1.7 billion over the next five years on hydrogen development, and Abraham said the European Union has committed up to $2 billion for research into hydrogen and other renewable energy sources.
He said the aim was to put competitively priced hydrogen cars on the market by 2020.
Hydrogen fuel cell automobiles run on electricity from a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen and only emit clean water from the tailpipe rather than polluting exhaust.
The meeting also will focus on security of the world energy supply, environmental damage and unequal access to energy sources.
Abraham plans to meet next week with the president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and the Saudi Arabian oil minister during a trip to the Persian Gulf.