Brussels gives EUR1.4 billion impetus to fuel cells and hydrogen

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This week, the European Commission set out a multi-billion euro investment package to boost research and innovation in sectors that are crucial to Europe’s economy and society. As part of the package, the Commission has pledged a €1.4bn stimulus to boost the development of hydrogen and fuel cells technologies over the next seven years. This amount will be shared by a public private partnership (PPP) and Brussels.

The New Energy World Industry Grouping (New-IG), the leading European industrial association representing a major part of Europe’s hydrogen and fuel cell industry, has welcomed the Commission’s proposal, which will renew and strengthen the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) programme of research.

Pierre-Etienne Franc, Chairman of the Board of NEW-IG said, “We believe that a robust European programme for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen is the right tool to coordinate objectives, pool resources and advance the technology for the benefit of the European economy. This renewed political and financial support is a sign that Europe will strive to establish this technology as a key enabler for its future energy and transport roadmap.”

Hydrogen from renewable sources can be produced today and has no carbon footprint. Compared to grid electricity and gas, a fuel cell will reduce CO2 emissions by 40% for the same amount of electricity produced. In addition, it is safe to produce, store, transport and use in fuel cells and other applications.

As a versatile energy carrier, hydrogen can become a key integrating element in the energy landscape. When brought to the market, fuel cell hydrogen technologies will help Europe address some of its most pressing challenges: sustainability and emission reduction, energy security and competitiveness.

Clean and energy efficient technologies offer enormous opportunities for the European market, generating growth whilst contributing to a sustainable economic recovery and the creation of jobs. Products and services related to sustainable mobility will represent a global market of €300 billion in 2020.

Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy said, “This public-private partnership is testament to the very real possibilities of hydrogen as an important energy vector for more sustainable and competitive energy systems. It is combined with an investment in jobs, economic competitiveness, energy efficiency and thus, an investment with environmental benefits too.”

The proposal is one of five PPPs announced as part of the Commission’s Innovation Investment Package, designed to provide €22bn of investment into a range of technology projects, including medicines, electronics, aeronautics and bio-based industries. This is part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 innovation and research strategy, which aims to inject about €70bn into European tech-driven industries over the next seven years.

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Group photo above: Joseph Jimenez, CEO of of Novartis, Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy, Daniele Romiti, CEO of Agusta Westland, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Novozymes, José Manuel Barroso, Neelie Kroes, Berry Wiersum, CEO of Sappi Fine Paper Europe, Guy Talbourdet, CEO of Roquette Frères, Helmut List, CEO of AVL (Anstalt für Verbrennungskraftmaschinen List), Jean-Paul Herteman, CEO of Safran, Monika Kircher, CEO of Infineon Technologies Austria AG, Richard Bergström, Director General of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and Peter Hongaard Andersen, Senior Vice-President for External Relations and Corporate Patents of H. Lundbeck A/S; Chairman of the Research Directory Group of the EFPIA (from left to right)

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