In the transition to a hydrogen economy, fuel cells could provide the planet with a sustainable energy supply to replace rapidly diminishing fossil fuels. Turning this vision into a reality took a further step forward today with the signing of a EU-US co-operation agreement on fuel cells technology. The agreement brokered by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and the US Secretary or Energy, Mr. Spencer Abraham, aims to strengthen research links, by bringing together EU and US researchers from both the public and private sectors. Key challenges for fuel cells to become commercially competitive are cost reductions, improved performance and durability. Research and technological development will explore how these barriers can be overcome. The Commission and the US Government will discuss shortly joint EU-US research projects in this field.
Signing the agreement in Brussels, Commissioner Busquin said: “By pooling EU and US research efforts and resources, we improve our chances of finding a long-term solution to the world’s energy and transport problems. Through global scientific partnerships we can work together to develop fuel cell technologies to deliver viable, environmentally sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels. Today represents a landmark in energy research history: with this agreement and the publication of the summary report of the High Level Group on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, we have made real progress towards building a sustainable future for Europe, the US and their peoples.”
"This agreement lays out the framework for our two entities to collaborate on a matter important to both the U.S. and the European Union – hydrogen research," said U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham. "The Fuel Cell Annex will help the U.S. Department of Energy and the European Commission leverage our approaches to hydrogen research. The Annex highlights the importance of our bilateral co-operation in the development of hydrogen as a clean form of energy."
But… what are fuel cells?
Fuel cells represent the potential energy solution of the future. They are efficient energy converters, which generate electricity and heat by chemically combining oxygen from the air and hydrogen from its fuel source without combustion or pollution. Research in the area of fuel cells has a leading role to play in the establishment of sustainable energy supply and the ability to provide affordable and clean energy without increasing green house gas emissions.
Fuel cells are a key driver to a hydrogen oriented economy and could, in the long term, replace combustion based conversion systems such as traditional engines or turbines. The hydrogen-oriented economy is a global challenge and international co-operation is essential to achieve its ambitious goals.
Joining forces to invest in a cleaner, more sustainable future
The EU is making substantial efforts to support activities in this field. Europe’s total public expenditure in this field is estimated at some €600 million for the 2002-2006 period (EU and Member States). Co-ordinating these efforts and stimulating private investment is crucial to building a competitive fuel cell industry in Europe.
Furthermore, on the other side of the Atlantic, the US administration has requested a budget of €1.7 billion over the next five years to be spent on the Freedom Car and Freedom Fuel Programmes, which include a heavy emphasis on hydrogen and fuel cells. The co-operation between the EU and the US, officially stated in the Fuel Cells Amendment signed today, represents a significant step forward in the strengthening of their scientific and technical relations and in the building-up of a global critical mass for research in this sector.
Fabio Fabbi | European Commission
Did you know that the wrapping of Easter eggs benefits from specialty light sources?
13.04.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH
To e-, or not to e-, the question for the exotic 'Si-III' phase of silicon
05.04.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences