Europe Launches Major Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Push with €1B JTI

Jose Michael

Representatives of industry, the research community and the European institutions launched the €1 billion (US$1.357 billion) Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) (earlier post) at an event in Brussels, Belgium on 14 October.

Over the next six years, the European Commission and industry will invest almost €500 million each into the initiative, with the aim of accelerating the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and bringing them to the market by 2020. The EC estimates that the JTI’s activities will reduce the time to market for these technologies by two to five years.

The JTI will focus its efforts on four main areas:

  • Transportation and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure;
  • Hydrogen production and distribution;
  • Stationary power generation and combined heat and power (CHP); and
  • Early markets.

The JTI’s first call for proposals, which has a budget of €28.1 million (US$30 million), was published earlier this month. It covers areas such as transportation and refuelling infrastructures and the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen.

The new JTI brings together more than 60 private companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large multinationals, together with leading energy research groups from across Europe.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative is the best possible vehicle to accelerate the development of technologies and bring the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cells forward. To prepare the market for these strategic technologies it is necessary to ensure the cooperation of all stakeholders: it is not only needed for the relevant industrial sectors to develop the supply chain, but it is also critical to ensure the cooperation between research, industry and government, at regional, national and European level.

—Gijs van Breda Vriesman, Chairman of the Governing Board of the Joint Undertaking

The JTI has been set up as a Joint Undertaking under Article 171 of the EC Treaty. Its work will be overseen by a Governing Board comprising representatives from research, industry and the Commission. An Executive Director and the Program Office will manage the day-to-day running of the organization. Further input will come from three advisory boards.

The EU’s Council of Ministers gave the green light to the establishment of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI at the end of May 2008. Other JTIs to have been established so far focus on innovative medicines (IMI), embedded computer systems (ARTEMIS), nanoelectronics (ENIAC) and aeronautics and air transport (Clean Sky).

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