Fuel Cells and Hydrogen public-private partnership will devote this year EUR 180 million to research and demonstration activities in the field
By publishing on 18 June 2010 the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking's third call for proposals, the European Union intends to capitalise on the potential of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for a whole range of technological applications, from transport, stationary installations to portable equipment. Europe increases its support to contribute to the deployment of these promising green technologies, key for meeting green house gas reduction objectives, energy security and competitiveness of European Industry. A budget worth of nearly € 180 million will be invested into research projects to be selected on the basis of this third call, with €89,1 million by the European Commission matched by in-kind contributions from industrial partners. 25 different project topics aim to foster the market breakthrough of these technologies whether being for the next generation of cars, urban public transport or power plants. Research to support the development of hydrogen production notably from renewable energy sources, its storage as well as its appropriate distribution would also be eligible. Projects to deploy a wide range of fuel cell-based products ready for commercialisation are also encouraged such as back-up power installations, material handling vehicles as well as educational, recreational, medical portable equipment etc. Non-technical barriers to the development of these technologies will also be addressed.
This is the third annual call being launched by this EU-wide collaborative private-public partnership whose total budget amounts around €1bn to be invested by 2014.
Welcoming the launch of this third call, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Joint Undertaking, Gijs van BredaVriesman, underlined:
"The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking demonstrates again the continued commitment of the European Commission and the European industry to foster market introduction of these new energy technologies. Joining forces is essential if we want to make Europe a leader in sustainable economic growth. Significant investments today will pave the way for market introduction, infrastructure development and customer acceptance of these promising technologies. Appropriate support will contribute to respond to environmental challenges, as well as develop EU competitiveness and growth tomorrow ".
Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have commercial potential for various end uses, from cars and other vehicles to stationary power generation in power stations and homes, to portable applications such as laptops and other general consumer items.
The 25 topics of this year's call address key issues to foster market breakthroughs. As last year, they are divided in 5 application areas: transportation and refuelling infrastructure; hydrogen production and distribution; stationary power generation; and early markets, such as portable, micro applications or material handling vehicles. The fifth application area focuses on cross-cutting issues useful for several types of applications, notably to ensure that non-technical barriers are addressed, such as developing a framework for technology monitoring and assessment as well as financial modelling of a hydrogen economy.
The deadline to apply to this call is 13 October 2010.
Evaluation of proposals is expected to be carried out in November 2010 and negotiations for the short-listed proposals are likely to be open by February/March 2011. From last call in 2009, 27 proposals are currently under negotiation out of 50 proposals received: grants should be decided by the end of this year.
The 2008 call ended up with 16 grants out of 32 proposals initially received.
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI was launched on 14th 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-sized 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, employing more than 2000 researchers in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen.
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, established in 2008, is the first illustrative example of a public-private partnership instrument under the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan).
The SET-Plan is an original way of working with Members States, industry, the research community and financial actors, for bringing new energy technologies to the market (2020 horizon), whilst at the same time investing in R&D for the longer-term (2050 horizon). It is now recognised as the technology pillar of the EU's energy and climate policy.