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Partners launch $51M hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and infrastructure project in Europe

Automakers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London’s Office and energy consultancies launched the £31-million (US$51-million) European HyFive project at City Hall in London. Five different manufacturers will deploy a total of 110 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles at several European locations (Bolzano, Copenhagen, Innsbruck, London, Munich, Stuttgart) and develop new clusters of hydrogen refueling stations.

Locations are being sought for three new hydrogen refueling stations in London, one in Aarhus and in Odense (Denmark) and one in Innsbruck (Austria). They are expected to be operational by 2015, by which time some of the manufacturers in the partnership will have started to put hydrogen fueled cars on sale in some European markets.

These stations will share internationally agreed fuel and re-fueling standards. All of the partners in the project see the initial investment to build small clusters of stations as key to gaining the research knowledge that will demonstrate the viability of hydrogen fueled vehicles.

UK-based ITM Power has been awarded a contract worth approximately £2.8 million (US$4.7 million) to supply three of its electrolyzer-based refueling stations to London under Europe’s FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking)-funded HyFive project.

ITM Power is delighted to be part of this exciting pan-European project, delivering three new green hydrogen refueling stations which will be deployed in London. These three new stations will form part of three European regions deploying six new 700 bar hydrogen refueling stations and incorporating 12 existing stations in the project. The fueling station networks will offer hydrogen as a genuine fueling choice for end users. Working with other partners in the project, Air Products, Linde, OMV and the Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, will stimulate the network density required for full commercial roll-out of hydrogen refueling and FCEVs.

—Prof Roger Putnam CBE, Non-Executive Chairman of ITM Power

The Mayor of London’s Office is coordinating the project, which has been signed up to by BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and hydrogen fuel companies including Air Products, Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power, Linde, OMV. Other signatories include Element Energy, PE INTERNATIONAL, the Institute for Innovative Technology and the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

The automakers which are part of this project are working on developing and demonstrating hydrogen powered fuel cell cars. Supporters of the new technology point to the rapid re-fueling times for hydrogen cars and their potential to cover more than four hundred miles before needing to be re-fueled. They also believe that fuel cells will have the ability to be scaled up to run larger vehicles such as buses or trucks.

To sell this technology we need to show Londoners and the wider world that it is not science fiction. By building the vehicles and the filling stations and allowing people to kick the tires we will be able to demonstrate that hydrogen is a viable option and that London is at the forefront of efforts to make it so.

—The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson

With a total of 110 FCEVs and 6 new refueling stations, HyFIVE will represent the largest single project of its kind financed by the FCH JU. The high level of technology readiness of this zero emission transport technology will be showcased in 5 European Member States, thus ensuring a broad geographical outreach. In addition, the project will also contribute to the buildup of the first networks at local levels necessary to support the market introduction of the vehicles in the coming years. With the participation of leading automakers and infrastructure providers, HyFIVE illustrates the commitment from leading industrial players in the EU and the spirit of cooperation that I am convinced will enable the success of these technologies.

—Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking

The three members of the FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by the NEW Industry Grouping and the research community represented by Research Grouping N.ERG.



Hurry up hydrogen, we have difficulty breathing . Im glad that itm power is there with their electrolyzers. Wish they come to montreal Canada.


Yes gor, H2 stations could get clean Hydro electricity at industrial L-rate of $0.03/kWh daytime and much less at night + a generous government subsidy for the H2 stations installation.

However, owners/operators would probably go bankrupt because there are no short or long range FCEVs around (yet) unless they come with the H2 stations. It could be ideal for our cold weather area. You should contact Toyota and Honda?

The Provincial Government electrification program will probably stop abruptly on 8th April 2014.


For a start and to encourage the purchase of vehicles so a hydrogen refueling network can become established, each dealer that sells fuel cell vehicles should install a hydrogen refilling station at the dealership. Or collaborate on a refueling station within x km's as many dealerships cluster. I imagine some form of refueling capablility would be needed in each service department.


If we get enough hydrogen fuel cell buses, the fueling yards can double as car fueling stations. Make small urban buses double as school buses morning and afternoon. Cut down on school bus budgets while paying for them with transit rider fares.


Here is an example of s smaller bus that is wireless charged from the under side.

Whether fuel cell or all battery electric, the smaller buses are cleaner and quieter, more of them can run more often for passenger convenience.


Excellent (Tesla-like) idea Smeeg. Can it be legislated? I can't seen GM, Ford and Chrysler do it.

Good ideas SJC but who wants to ride with 20+ modern ultra noisy kids?

Smaller buses would be ideal in many places but are too costly to operate with $122,000/year unionized drivers.
The trend is more towards articulated 100+ passengers units with half to one third as many drivers and let the passengers wait an extra 20+ minutes or so. I cannot see an end to this trend unless we get driverless e-buses in the future.

Please note that the new BMW-Siemens subway units in Kuala Lumpur will be driverless.


You and your unionized driver rant, let me guess, they are fat too.
Smaller buses would take the kids to school then be used for transit duty.


The public, especially the fraction which has to get to work during morning school pick-up hours, would object strenuously to sharing a bus fleet with schools.

Fuel-cell buses are just another ploy of the fossil-fuel interests, who are hiding behind their hydrogen marketing ploy.  They are salivating over the prospect of selling hydrogen from gasified coal and reformed methane.  Batteries scare them, and rightfully so.


SJC, you should have a look at our 3000+ unshaved male Rambo city bus drivers with old baseball cap and dirty jeans. Half of them (male drivers) do not respect traffic regulations and are dangerous for smaller vehicles and pedestrians.

Too bad that less than 7% are female drivers, because they behave normally.


EP and Harvey:
Rant time, or what?


I don't know what it is about fuel cell cars which awakens the id, but if this carries on to the detriment of sensible comment I am going to call nurse Ratchet.



Not taking sides here, to be sure. Just asking your expertise: isn't reforming CH4 pretty much the easiest and most efficient way to get H2 gas ("efficient" meaning energy input and complexity of carbon capture)? Thanks for your answer.


SMR is the favored method, but the cost of natural gas makes it attractive to gasify low-cost feedstocks like coal or waste products like petcoke.  I have to wonder just how much it would have cost the Wabash River Repowering Project to include something like membrane separation to extract hydrogen from the syngas as a higher-value product stream.


What enabling fuel cell vehicles again? Must not do that.

Roger Pham

@E-P and Herman,
It may cost less to do SMR or gasify coal to produce H2 in large plants, however, it will cost a lot more to store and to transport the H2 to retail locations via trucks, hence retail cost of H2 at the filling station won't be that cheap. With steadily declining costs of solar and wind energy, it soon will be cheaper to just produce the H2 in place using DC current from local solar PV and wind turbines, rather than from fossil fuels. In this way, the sellers can advertise that their H2 came from high percentage of RE, and only a small percentage need come from the grid electricity only during longer periods of cloudy and windless days, which are pretty rare. Early adopters of FCV are likely to be affluent environmentally sensitive people, so the fossil-fuel-H2 will turn them off.

It may cost less to do SMR or gasify coal to produce H2 in large plants, however, it will cost a lot more to store and to transport the H2 to retail locations via trucks, hence retail cost of H2 at the filling station won't be that cheap.

Hydrogen will only be cheap close to plants which produce it from carbon.  At some distance determined by transport cost, it must be priced by grid electric rates.  Electricity stored in batteries will always be cheaper than that stored as hydrogen; this is why the European fuel-cell group discontinued PEM FC coverage.

With steadily declining costs of solar and wind energy, it soon will be cheaper to just produce the H2 in place using DC current from local solar PV and wind turbines

DC can charge batteries at perhaps 30-50% of the cost per delivered kWh.  Converting to chemical energy (H2) means conversion losses and expense in both directions.

Early adopters of FCV are likely to be affluent environmentally sensitive people

It makes me wonder how many of those people already have a Tesla.

Roger Pham

A FCV will be favored by those who can't or don't want to plug in their car, and who want rapid fillup, and can't afford the high price of the Tesla.

Roger Pham

>>>>"DC can charge batteries at perhaps 30-50% of the cost per delivered kWh [in comparison to H2]. Converting to chemical energy (H2) means conversion losses and expense in both directions."

Not really. Must take into account the substantial cost of batteries at home to store solar PV energy at home AND the cost of batteries in the vehicle, AND the costs of charging equipments, including DC to DC converter, etc. They ain't cheap! H2 will come out ahead!


For the long term, using limited fossil fuels to produce electricity and/or H2 does not make sense except for the pocket book of the 3% (**)

The world can produce enough clean electricity for e-vehicles and to produce enough H2 for future FCEVs.

The main advantage of H2 is that it can easily be stored in the right places (along highways etc) to fill FCEVs and/or to make clean electricity for BEVs. An ideal way to make Wind and Solar energy available 24/7?

(**) in 2013, 86 Canadians had the same wealth as the poorer 11,500,000 Canadians. In 2012, the same 86 people had the same wealth as 10,000,000 poor Canadians. One may conclude than 2013 was an excellent year for very few.

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