Several readers have expressed concern about a new and exciting initiative at the University of California ("UC Money Could Be Used on Something Else," Letters, Nov. 24).
Recently, the university leased two next-generation automobiles that run on hydrogen gas and subsequently produce virtually no pollution. The automobiles were developed and built by Toyota Motor Corp., and UC is leasing the vehicles to study and advise on their practical use in California, the nation and, for that matter, the world.
As your readers observe, the cost of leasing these vehicles is not cheap.
Still, I can assure your readers that the leases are being paid by private industry sources already supporting our research. Not one tax dollar will be spent on the lease payments. Indeed, not a single UC student or academic program will be adversely affected by this research. We expect exactly the opposite.
UC Irvine and UC Davis are the only U.S. universities leasing these vehicles. This arrangement allows UC students and researchers to have the unique opportunity of seeing how a cutting-edge technology is put to common use. It will also allow the university to be involved in advancing a technology that promises to have a truly positive effect on the environment.
The National Fuel Cell Research Center at UC Irvine is renowned for the development and testing of fuel-cell technology and its infrastructure. Fuel-cell technology is one of the most promising technologies for reducing the pollution caused by more traditional energy sources.
Please be assured that this program has been designed to enrich the academic function of the university and to provide a research platform to address one of the most vexing environmental issues facing California.
Fuel Cell Research Center