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European regions boost funding for local development of hydrogen and fuel cells infrastructure

The year-old European Regions and Municipalities Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (HyRaMP) [FCB, June 2008], has spent the last six months collecting detailed information on the activities and budgets of European regions that are spearheading hydrogen and fuel cells infrastructure development in Europe. It has found that regional budgets for transport, infrastructure, stationary and early market activities are matching annual funding levels of the EU Joint Undertaking for fuel cells and hydrogen (FCH JU), which is jointly supported by the EU and by European industry and research institutions.

The objective of HyRaMP is to foster the adoption of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in Europe and accelerate market penetration of the first applications, through joint procurement systems and interregional collaboration on streamlining authorization procedures. The partnership aims to become the European reference point for local hydrogen and fuel cell development, and a one-stop information and support center for local activities and strategies.

Partnership members submitted comments and suggestions to the work program of the next call for proposals for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. Their detailed input on focus and funding levels for transport and stationary applications will facilitate the choice of locations for future demonstration projects for buses, vehicles and early market applications, such as forklifts and small fuel cell power systems.

Many HyRaMP member regions have already developed market strategy and support mechanisms to ease their industries’ access to the global hydrogen and fuel cell market. Many successful strategic interregional collaborations for joint procurement and exchange of experiences haven proven a success:

  • Scandinavian regions are collaborating in establishing a Hydrogen Highway that will link the existing stations of the Norwegian HyNor highway project with Sweden and Denmark.
  • The Italian regions of Lombardy and Piemont have signed a protocol to jointly develop their hydrogen infrastructure, and last year they approved the first strategic program. In addition, Lombardy is running a project on the use of a methane/hydrogen blend and two fuel stations. It is fostering three stationary hydrogen projects, one of which is in the regional government’s new headquarters.
  • The Midi-Pyrénées region in southern France, with the collaboration of a local firm in Albi, will produce ‘green’ hydrogen by reforming biogas from a domestic waste bioreactor, which will be used in public transport vehicles.

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