ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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DoE’s Neil Rossmeissl Stresses Standards at ANSI’s June Caucus


Washington, DC, Jun 08, 2004

The June 4 ANSI Caucus featured Mr. Neil Rossmeissl, head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technology, who discussed the DoE’s Hydrogen Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Program and the impact of standards on this technology worldwide.

Mr. Rossmeissl informed the Caucus attendees on U.S. fuel policy, and elaborated upon current fuel economy problems prompting experts to identify fewer viable carriers of future energy. Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a field of dire importance and burgeoning activity. Eventually, he proposed, hydrogen will achieve preeminence, with electricity as the other option.

On the road to greater hydrogen energy consumption, technology improvements in virtually all industries depend on more than scientific efforts. Mr. Rossmeissl highlighted the need for U.S. funding for industry standards that must precede technology. These standards must be open, voluntary, consensus-based, and originate in industry.

This emphasis on standards carried over to the international arena. Rossmeissl described American, European, and Japanese standards and the need for their effective integration. Much is lost when competition trumps cooperation, he argued. Globalization trends can either increase prosperity or exacerbate problems. In particular, the top-down bureaucratic approach of European standards conflicts with the bottom-up industry-driven approach of the American system.

Mr. Rossmeissl’s diagnosis came with a prescription. He suggested that CEO’s need to support technical sophistication and standards participation to effectively drive business negotiations. Rossmeissl promoted education and awareness, and strongly emphasized action, stating that “right now, we are at a nexus point.” He offered the ideal goals of 1) making it easier and less costly for technology to enter markets, and 2) making the system more equitable for U.S. processes. “Go through ANSI, [to go] through the ISO (International Organization of Standards),” he urged those present. He concluded that the solution to meeting standards challenges is to engage in the standards process at every level.

Mr. Rossmeissl’s message was well received by the audience; his attendance was eagerly anticipated after an equally engaging presentation in 2003.

ANSI thanks the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and the Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) for co-sponsoring the event. ANSI Caucus luncheons convene on the first Friday of every month, except July and August. For more information on Caucus luncheons, please contact David Karmol, ANSI vice president, public policy and government affairs (dkarmol@ansi.org; 202-331-3610).

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