European Commission President, Romano Prodi, today launched the “European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology” Platform, whose Advisory Council includes key players of the European hydrogen sector, at its first assembly in Brussels. The Platform has the task of drafting a blueprint to smooth the EU’s transition from a fossil fuel-based to a hydrogen-based economy. The creation of this platform follows the presentation of a report by an EU high-level expert group on June 16, 2003, and the inclusion of a hydrogen and fuel cell initiative in the “QuickStart” list of transport and research projects. This list was presented by the Commission on November 11, 2003, in the framework of the “European Growth Initiative”. World-wide energy demand will double in the next 50 years, and Europe still has very limited home-grown resources. The EU currently imports 50% of its demand for oil, and, if nothing is done, this figure will rise to 70% in 20-30 years time. Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies could form an integral part of future sustainable energy systems. This will contribute to improving Europe’s energy security and air quality, whilst lessening climate change. Developing the new hydrogen society while gaining worldwide leadership will require a coherent EU strategy, which this European Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technology Platform will help devise.
“At the current pace, Europe’s oil import dependency is set to grow from around 50% today to 70% or more in 2025. Current trends are clearly unsustainable. We have to act now in order to change them,” said Commission President Romano Prodi. “Our objective is to realise a step-by-step shift towards a fully integrated hydrogen economy, based on renewable energy sources, by the middle of the century. To turn this vision into reality, however, Europe needs more research, larger demonstration and deployment projects, and regulations and standards appropriate to the future hydrogen economy. These efforts will be successful only if national and European resources, both public and private, are pulled together in a co-ordinated way. This is why we are launching the European partnership for the hydrogen economy.”
The creation of the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform is sponsored by President Prodi, along with Vice-President and Energy and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio and Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.
Fabio Fabbi | European Commission
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