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Energy for the future - Hydrogen and Fuel Cell industry sets out its blueprint


At its second General Assembly on 17 and 18 March, the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform will present its proposals for the medium- and long-term development of hydrogen and fuel cells for carrying and converting energy cleanly. Europe faces the challenge of fluctuating oil prices, concerns about global warming and growth in energy demand. Hydrogen, with fuel cells as its primary application, is now widely recognised as a flexible and environmentally friendly energy carrier, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves local air quality and enhances security of energy supply. As an energy carrier, hydrogen has particular importance for the transport sector. The Platform brings together all the major players from the hydrogen sector, from industry, research institutes, public authorities, NGOs, with the support of the European Commission. On 16 March there will be an opportunity to see prototype hydrogen vehicles in action, as well as an exhibition of current technologies and research projects in this area.

“The potential for hydrogen fuel is very exciting. We already have prototype vehicles and it is estimated that commercialisation and mass roll-out could start by 2020,“ said Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research. “By bringing together all those with a stake in the future of hydrogen and fuel cell technology, with the support of the European Commission, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform can assure the best use of resources for research, in ways that meet the needs of this growing industry.”

”The Technology Platform aims to facilitate and accelerate the development and deployment of cost-competitive, world-class hydrogen and fuel cell based energy systems in Europe. This is an ambitious goal, for an exciting and necessary challenge. We as Technology Platform commit to play an active role in driving this challenge forward.” Jeremy Bentham, Chairman of the Platform stated.

The Platform will adopt two documents that together will provide a vision for the sector in the medium- to long-term. The first, the Strategic Research Agenda proposes a ten-year research, development and demonstration programme designed to lead to world-class technology and global leadership. It also proposes budget allocations for the main research areas (hydrogen production, storage & distribution, etc). The goals are to reduce fuel cell system costs by a factor of 10 to 100, enhance the performance and durability of today’s fuel cell systems by a factor of 2, to reduce the costs of hydrogen delivered by a factor of 3 or even more - in order to be competitive with conventional systems.

The second document is the Deployment Strategy, which describes the first steps and key milestones for the market penetration of portable, stationary and transport applications by 2020. The document also outlines the necessity for substantial, combined public/private partnerships, of the type the Platform is designed to encourage, in order to move from the present research/prototype demonstration stage to the mass-market introduction of hydrogen & fuel cell technologies.

The General Assembly will be preceded the evening before by a VIP event, with prototype hydrogen vehicles. There will also be an exhibition showing real-life applications of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

Julia Acevedo Bueno | alfa
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