Brussels, 02 July 2009
Hydrogen buses, clean power stations and greener laptops: Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative launches a €140 million call for proposals for cutting-edge research
With today's publication of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative (JTI)'s second call for proposals for research, Europe stays the course to realise the potential of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and to create a cleaner energy system for the future. Around €140 million have been allocated to this second call, with €71.3 million by the Commission matched by in-kind contributions of the industrial partners. The 29 project topics aim to put fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies on the market two to five years sooner than what is estimated without the support it offers. Selected teams of researchers will investigate bottlenecks in the whole range of applications for these energy technologies, from cars to large scale power plants, as well as the whole supply chain from hydrogen production to demonstration of the market-readiness of applications. Breakthrough research should foster the use of hydrogen-fuelled buses and fuel cell vehicles. It will help develop hydrogen storage and improve fuel cells' durability, performance and the cost-efficiency to make green applications such as power stations or laptops ready for the market. This call is the second being launched by this EU-wide collaborative private-public partnership whose total budget amounts around €1bn to be invested by 2014.
Welcoming the launch, EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Poto č nik, said:
" The new step taken today by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI highlights the continued commitment of the European Commission and the European industry to develop breakthrough technologies to put Europe at the forefront of green technologies. Precious partnership in this area and others that are to follow in the framework of SET Plan will help the EU to meet its ambitious energy and environmental goals faster and cheaper. Such Investments today are a guarantee for EU competitiveness and growth tomorrow ".
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the Joint Undertaking, Gijs van Breda Vriesman, also welcomed the launch of the second call, saying:
"The industry has been thriving to create this partnership for a long time. It is important to join forces to overcome the technical and economic hurdles to market-introduction of these technologies which have a big potential to address problems of climate change and energy import dependence. It is gratifying to see the long work done by the partners bearing fruit. We have a well-prepared research agenda and we are receiving a good response from the industry and the research community. We are just in time to grasp the chance to make Europe a leader in these technologies."
Targeting obstacles to market-introduction
Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, can be applied in a variety of end uses, from cars and other vehicles to stationary power generation in power stations and homes, to portable applications such as laptops.
The 29 topics of the call address key issues that need to be tackled to achieve market breakthroughs. They are divided in 5 application areas: transportation and refuelling infrastructure; hydrogen production and distribution; stationary power generation; and early markets, such as portable applications or small utility vehicles. The fifth application area focuses on cross-cutting issues, supporting research necessary for market creation, such as developing a life cycle assessment framework, training regulators or supporting SMEs. Complementarities exist, and the research results will in many cases be useful for several types of applications.
The application deadline for the call is 15 October 2009 and projects selected for contract negotiations will be announced in March 2010.
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI was launched on 14 th October 2008. Its main goal is to speed up the development of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in Europe to enable their commercialisation between 2010 and 2020. Current membership includes the European Commission and 64 companies, from multinationals to small and medium enterprises, represented by the European Industry Grouping for the FCH JTI (NEW IG), as well as 54 universities and research institutes, represented by the Research Grouping N.ERGHY, engaging more than 2000 researchers in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen.
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