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MEMO/08/617

Brussels, 14 October 2008

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) is a public private partnership with joint funding from the Community and from industry with industry in the lead. The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI was established as a Joint Undertaking by Council Regulation (EC) 521/2008[1]. It is officially launched at the First Stakeholders General Assembly in Brussels on 14-15 October 2008. The Commission will fund 470 M€ from the FP7 programme over six years and at least the same amount will come from private industry. Details of the concept of Joint Technology Initiatives are given in

MEMO/07/570. What is the rationale for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI?

Current situation of fuel cells and hydrogen research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) in the EU

  • Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have a great potential to contribute to addressing energy challenges facing Europe. EU Framework Programmes (FPs) have given increasing levels of funding to this area, going from 8M€ in FP2 to 315M€ in FP6. There are also national programmes with substantial funding. Therefore, better coordination of the sources of funding could bring efficiency gains, meaning that everyone gets more for their money.
  • There are still many technical and non-technical barriers to overcome before fuel cell and hydrogen technology is widely commercially available. Time is running as strong RTD competition is coming from other global players, US and Japan but also China and emerging countries.

Why is the JTI favoured over a "business as usual" public-private partnership scenario?

The JTI will be a public-private partnership for research at EU level. It will bring public and private interests together into a new industry-led structure, implementing a jointly defined research programme. This structure will ensure that the jointly defined research programme will better match industry’s needs and expectations, and accelerate the fuel cell and hydrogen technology acquisition and deployment process.

  • The Commission supports such structure because the research needed to develop the technologies is often so complex that no single company or public research institution can perform it alone.

The Commission expects this new model of public-private partnership to stimulate additional European research investment, build critical mass by uniting currently fragmented efforts, and ensure effective and efficient programme management.

What is the JTI added value?

This new kind of research cooperation has a number of clear advantages.

  • It is estimated that the activities of the JTI will help to reduce time to market for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies by between 2 and 5 years and will therefore have a quicker impact in improving energy efficiency, security of supply and reducing greenhouse gas and pollution.
  • A pre-defined budget of sufficient critical mass and a 6 year time horizon will raise confidence among public and private investors and allows industry to make long-term investment plans and manage its cash flows.
  • Industry’s lead role in defining priorities and timelines, in consultation with the European Commission and the research community, will ensure that full advantage is taken of the fundamental research capacities in universities and research centres and that RTD and demonstration efforts are integrated under common management.

What is the JTI expected results?

  • The JTI is to deliver robust hydrogen supply and fuel cell technologies developed to the point of commercial take-off. For the automotive sector, the aim is to achieve breakthroughs in bottleneck technologies and to enable industry to take the large-scale commercialisation decisions necessary to achieve mass market growth in the time-frame 2015-2020.
  • For stationary fuel cells (domestic and commercial) and portable applications, the JTI will provide the technology base to initiate market growth from 2010-2015.

How does the role of hydrogen fit with other energy carriers such as electricity and biofuels?

Hydrogen should be seen as a complementary energy vector to electricity and biofuels. It is already part of today’s industrial technology; yet for energy use the real benefits can only be exploited with novel technologies such as fuel cells.

As hydrogen can be produced from a great variety of primary energies and it can be advantageously utilised in a great variety of different applications (transport, portable and stationary power) it will form an energy hub like electric power.

Hydrogen has the advantage over electricity that it can be stored much better, which could be used to match renewable power supply and power demand. Hydrogen can be carbon-dioxide-free or lean on its energy pathway if produced appropriately and it can be used as a transportation fuel without emitting carbon dioxide.

Who are the members of the JTI?

  • The founding members of the Joint Undertaking are: the European Community, represented by the European Commission, and an Industry Grouping (the NEW IG) established as an international not-for-profit association representing European industry interests. The NEW IG currently has 66 companies, including members from Fiat, PSA and Volvo in the automobile sector and Total and Shell in the energy sector. In terms of size, the member companies represent the whole range from multinationals to SMEs. Most are based in the Member States but there are also companies from Associated Countries.
  • A similar grouping, the N.ERGHY Research Grouping, representing the interests of the European research community became a member of the JTI in July 2008. The N.ERGHY Research Grouping currently has a membership of a total of 49 universities and research institutes, mainly from EU Member states but also from Associated Countries. They include CNRS (the French national research agency), VTT (the Technical Research Centre of Finland) and Tübitak (the Turkish Council for Science and Technology).

What is the legal basis and structure of the JTI?

  • The JTI has been established as a Joint Undertaking according to the provisions of Article 171 of the EC Treaty. This entity will be established for 6 years with additional 3 years to bring projects that have already been started to conclusion.
  • The seat of the Joint Undertaking will be Brussels.

The Joint Undertaking was formally established 30 May 2008 by the adoption of the Council Regulation (EC) No 521/2008. During the start-up period (publication of the first call, establishing the necessary infrastructure, etc.) the Commission takes the responsibility for the JTI operations. The progress in the start-up period is facilitated by an FP7 Coordination and Support Action funded jointly by the Commission and the Industry Grouping.

Financing

The European Commission will contribute up to 470M€ for the 6-year period until 2013. This has to be at least matched by industry's in-kind contributions in the JTI projects.

The running costs of the Joint Undertaking will be shared with 50% paid by the Industry Grouping and 50% by the European Commission and the Research Grouping.

What is the JTI work programme and project financing?

  • The JTI will develop its own work programme that will take into consideration the strategic documents developed by the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform. The Joint Undertaking will make resources available to finance JTI projects.
  • The JTI will take measures to attract additional financing from other sources, including from national and regional programmes, as well as exploring opportunities to make use of the FP7 Risk-Sharing Finance Facility (with the European Investment Bank).
  • The JTI will implement the work programme through calls for proposals.

First call for proposals in October 2008

  • First call for proposals has been published in October 2008 with a budget of 28.1 M€
  • Activity areas for the first call include:
  1. Transportation & refuelling infrastructure
  2. Hydrogen Production, Storage & Distribution
  3. Stationary Power Generation & CHP
  4. Early Markets
  5. Cross-Cutting Issues

What is the Governance of the JTI?

  • The executive bodies of the Joint Undertaking are the Governing Board and the Executive Director assisted by the staff in a Programme Office.
  • The Governing Board is composed of representatives of the Industry Grouping, the Commission and the Research Grouping. The Governing Board has overall responsibility for the operations of the Joint Undertaking: implementation of the activities, approval of the annual implementation plan, budget, accounts and the balance-sheet; approval of the list of selected project proposals, etc.
  • The Programme Office will, under the responsibility of the Executive Director, be in charge of the daily management of the Joint Undertaking as well as managing the launch of the calls for project proposals, the evaluation and selection of the projects, among others.
  • The advisory bodies of the Joint Undertaking are:

- The Scientific Committee

- The States Representatives Group

- The Stakeholders General Assembly

Which are the other JTIs?

4 other Joint Technology Initiatives have been launched over the last year in fields of key importance for industrial research, where there are clearly identified common technological and economic objectives.

  • Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI): this programme will support the development of new knowledge, tools and methods in order to bring better and safer medicines quicker to the market.
  • Clean Sky : this JTI will develop breakthrough technologies to significantly improve the impact of the air transport on the environment.
  • Artemis: this JTI will sustain Europe’s world lead in embedded systems, specialised computer components dedicated to a specific task that are part of a larger system.
  • ENIAC: this public-private partnership aims at implementing large European research and technology development projects in Nanoelectronics

[1] Council Regulation (EC) No 521/2008 of 30 of May 2008 setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, OJEU L 153, p.1


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