Best success story
Vote for the best hydrogen & fuel cells success story
These success stories show how collaboration between research, industry and policy makers in a European partnership delivers the best innovation and accelerates society’s transition to a greener world.
Each theme exemplifies the FCH JU’s continuous learning approach to creating low-carbon and sustainable solutions or opening new markets for European expertise in fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) technology.
As several projects are involved in each, we will give the award to all projects taking part in the winning success story.
Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) show great promise in reducing CO2 emissions, particularly within cities, but a lack of refuelling stations has held back adoption. FCH JU has worked with industry and municipal authorities to bring vehicles such as taxicabs and police cars to our streets, paving the way for 100 refuelling stations and the deployment of 2000 FCEVs in European cities such as Paris, London or Copenhagen.
Although they represent only 4 % of all road vehicles, heavy-duty transport vehicles are responsible for more than a quarter of Europe’s CO2 road transport emissions. Two FCH JU-funded projects are demonstrating how trucks can run on hydrogen, generating water vapour rather than CO2 . The projects cover long-haul freight traffic as well as dustbin lorries operating in European cities.
Not so long ago, the idea of hydrogen-powered cars was considered ‘hot air’. FCH JU funding has helped two UK SMEs develop and demonstrate the reality: hydrogen is ever closer to commercialisation. A fleet of 13 small hydrogen-powered passenger vehicles was demonstrated across Europe, from rural Wales to North-western Germany, and three new refuelling stations have been added to existing networks.
Cruise ships, ferries and freight shipping are big contributors to CO2 emissions. Two FCH JU-funded projects are researching fuel cells to replace fossil fuels in the maritime sector. One project is helping to power commercial vessels along rivers and across waves, while another develops technology that can be used in the extreme cold of the Arctic.
Fuel-cell powered vehicles remain relatively expensive because of costly technology. The FCH JU has brought together industry and university experts to explore different paths to lower the production costs of fuel cells, while at the same time guaranteeing increasing performances. A cluster of projects looks into improving manufacturing and quality control techniques; while. other projects are investigating how to improve performance while reducing the amount of expensive materials, such as platinum.
To use hydrogen as a vehicle fuel, it must first be compressed. Current technologies are energy consuming and reliant on rare earth materials. An innovative solution based on metal offers the best performance and when combined with a new mechanical compressor can provide the compression levels needed for different vehicle types, reducing overall hydrogen costs by 20 %.
Some industries produce significant quantities of hydrogen as a by-product. This resource currently goes to waste, but could instead be harnessed using fuel-cell technology. FCH JU-funded projects are studying viable applications around the world in order to replicate them as a feasible solution for European and global industry.
The use of renewable energy presents specific challenges for remote regions which are not part of a wider energy system. How do they manage the excess energy produced during the windiest and sunniest days, if it is not needed at the same moment it is produced? Fortunately, FCH technologies have demonstrated an environmentally-friendly solution for four remote European locations.
Electrolysers – which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen – are key to producing clean, green hydrogen. However, it has proven difficult to make this technology more efficient while cutting costs. By tackling the barriers limiting the potential of electrolysers, FCH JU-funded projects make a significant contribution to the EU’s energy transition.
Hydrogen is essential for decarbonising Europe’s energy system. Yet it can only fulfil its potential if renewable energy and environmentally-friendly application methods are mainstreamed. A new roadmap has outlined the importance of FCH for decarbonisation, while a first of its kind pilot for green hydrogen certification has provided the necessary tools for demonstrating the sustainable character of FCH.
Insufficient research is blocking the commercialisation of FCH products. With a series of projects and dissemination activities, the FCH JU plays a fundamental role in removing this barrier. The development of certification, harmonised tests and an information database outlining current legal and administrative barriers to commercialisation will help build the right environment for the market to thrive.
Accounting for 7 % of global CO2 emissions, decarbonising the steel industry is crucial for a clean energy transition. The FCH JU is demonstrating how green hydrogen can decarbonise steel production by facilitating cooperation with the energy sector. It has found that 150 million tonnes of CO2 can be avoided per year in the EU when using green hydrogen during steel production.
Vote for the best FCH JU project innovation
Fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) innovation demonstrates how collaboration between research, industry and policymakers in European partnerships has delivered world-class solutions and accelerated the energy transition to a greener world.
Each of the innovations shortlisted for this award exemplifies the FCH JU’s focus on research, development and continuous learning – be it creating low-carbon and sustainable solutions or opening new markets for FCH expertise.
The project partners leading the winning innovation will receive the award.
Denmark trials unique electrolyser providing Hydrogen to industry and buses
Partners leading the innovation: Hydrogenics, Air Liquide
Electrolysers – which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen – are integral in clean hydrogen production. This innovative electrolyser can provide significant amounts of Hydrogen to industry and buses while providing electricity grid services to Denmark.
Large-scale conversion of biogas into hydrogen
Partners leading the innovation: ICI Caldaie, Tecnalia, POLIMI, TUE
The gas emitted from landfill and the breakdown of organic waste, known as biogas, offers a green source for hydrogen to power fuel cells. A novel reactor – the largest of its kind in the world – is designed to directly convert biogas into pure hydrogen, efficiently and in a single step.
New compressor technology
Partners leading the innovation: MAHYTEC, EIFER
To use hydrogen to fuel vehicles, it must first be compressed. This innovative approach will deliver better performance and less environmental impact by lowering the costs and noise levels of hydrogen refuelling. Temperature control has been improved and there is a significant reduction in energy consumption.
A complete package for taxi companies
Partners leading the innovation: STEP
This new business model aims to encourage the uptake of hydrogen-powered taxis in cities. Its ‘sales pack’ makes it easy for new or existing taxi companies to integrate fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). It includes the vehicles themselves (in total 180 taxis to be deployed in London, Paris, Brussels), a network of refilling stations, a customer reservation system and even the taxi licence.
Novel business model for rubbish collection: ‘Waste to Wheel’
Partners leading the innovation: Tractebel/ENGIE
When organic waste is incinerated, the produced electricity can be converted into hydrogen. This innovation helps close the loop by powering rubbish trucks with fuel cells using green hydrogen sourced from waste. Any excess hydrogen can be stored and used to supply power to the grid or to power other fuel cells vehicles.
Rubbish trucks powered by hydrogen
Partners leading the innovation: e-Trucks
Hydrogen fuel cells have been successfully integrated into 15 electric rubbish trucks that have been optimised to make collection times faster. In future, high-performance fuel cell trucks could be purchased or leased to European cities by means of a new financing model. Authorities would pay for the usage (month of operation) rather than the vehicle itself.
Leasing hydrogen-powered cars
Project: H2ME 2
Partners leading the innovation: ALPHABET
Drivers can now rent fuel-cell hydrogen cars thanks to FCH JU support. While AlphaElectric is already a market leader in electric vehicles, this is the first time any leasing company has offered hydrogen-powered cars.
Improved hydrogen refilling for London
Project: H2ME 2
Partners leading the innovation: ITM
Several technical improvements for hydrogen refilling stations and efficient customer support have enabled the deployment of a wide hydrogen refilling network of 6 stations as well as 200 FC electric vehicles in London out of which 50 were deployed this year. The Metropolitan Police Service also uses the network, which has been expanded with one more station at Gatwick airport at the end of October 2019.
A novel testing device enables fuel cell manufacturers to scale-up production volumes
Partners leading the innovation: AVL
One of the main barriers for fuel cells at the moment are the high production costs associated to manufacturing. This novel device will enable manufacturers to quickly test fuel cell stacks in order to avoid any defective products being shipped to customers, thereby ensuring the quality of the product and lowering production costs.
Improved manufacturing through Artificial Intelligence
Partners leading the innovation: Haiku Tech Europe BV
Ceramics and other materials are used in fuel cells that convert hydrogen into energy. A new automated visual inspection process is using artificial intelligence to check for surface defects during cell manufacturing and provide information on their size and distribution, thereby improving quality control.
New catalyst enables efficient production of green hydrogen from biogas
Partners leading the innovation: Johnson Matthey PLC
Researchers have developed a new catalyst made from precious metals. The innovative materials act as a stable catalyst, which allows the energy-efficient conversion of biogas into hydrogen. The precious metals are resistant to very high temperatures and are easily recycled. This innovation brings us one step closer to the circular economy, enabling one more pathway for green hydrogen production.
This award was established in order to reward the projects who are maximising their outreach and show communications excellence in raising the visibility of fuel cells and hydrogen technology. The winner of this award is chosen internally by the FCH JU Programme office.