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Energy and Auto Companies Outline Steps to Advance Hydrogen as a Transport Fuel in Europe

The energy companies Shell Hydrogen and Total France, along with automakers BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor, GM, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, and Volkswagen AG have issued a common position paper defining a joint approach to advance hydrogen as a fuel for road transport in Europe.

The companies have decided that a joint approach between energy companies and vehicle manufacturers is required to bridge the gap between the present individual demonstration activities and future commercially available hydrogen vehicles including the corresponding refueling infrastructure.

Each company is pursuing its own specific timelines, but the group has commonly identified key phases over the next decade, comprising continuous technology development and cost reduction, pre-commercial technology refinement and market preparation, with commercialization of hydrogen powered vehicles potentially starting around 2015.

A key priority is to concentrate efforts on a focused region for passenger cars, leveraging all resources in order to maximize learnings. Based on these requirements, the group sees these Lighthouse Projects initially rolling out in Berlin for cars and city buses, and in additional selected cities and regions for city buses.

All lessons learned will be shared across all regions, as will continuing education and outreach.



What a surprise.

The energy companies want us to use hydrogen. Guess it's the only way to protect their bottom line.


I think I'll have a heart attack and die of not surprised.

This is probably fully funded by the oil companies who know that most of the remaining oil reserves are held by NOCs.

Well, that's free enterprise for you. If they can make it fly then I'll be happy if they can produce zero emission fuel in a sustainable fasion.

Personally, I'm putting my money on electricity as the carrier of choice.


I always get real concerned whenever I see oil companies lying in bed with auto manufacturers; I always smell the sour stinch of market control and price setting.


If they combine their lobbying resources, they will be looking for the Governments to fund this. Watch for the next step.


You guys are just shills for the big battery lobby.


He he! Like it....

Roger Pham

Please realize that the only fastest way to move toward clean fuel and clean environment and fight global warming is to have the energy companies to initiate that themselves. They have enormous resources and political clout to bring about a rapid change once they realize that they will be able to make just as much money on H2 (and methane) economy as on the old and dirty petroleum economy. It is increasingly more expensive to explore for oil and to pump oil out of the ever deeper and deeper oil wells.
There's nothing wrong with big battery lobby, either, if battery technology can or will deliver.


And big oil companies are doing exactly that: they actively diversify their options in energy market. But watch when nuclear lobby will begin to push PHEV, especially in France…

Rafael Seidl

EU governments, the auto industry and the natural gas industry have invested billions in hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell research so of course they are now going to at least try and bring it to market. If the cancelled the effort now, they would be held accountable.

That doesn't mean I think it's a good idea, especially since global warming has now displaced tailpipe emissions and recycling as the European public's #1 environmental concern related to cars and trucks. On that score, both biofuels and electric hybrids appear both more effective and more practical. In the present context of serious budget deficits (Europeans actually still car about being in debt, witness the events in Hungary), it is unlikely that truly vast quantities of additional taxpayer money will be squandered on setting up a hydrogen economy. We seem to prefer handing it to the farmers, who pass it on to foods and agrochemical giants who *allegedly* finance political parties in places like France.

Suffice it to say that I would be content to see H2ICE fuel cell vehicles fail in the market, at the expense of these newer concepts. The reseach effort was not entirely in vain, though: fuel cells and the hydrogen infrastructure supporting them may well make sense in short-hop aviation, cargo submarines for North Pole routes and, as energy buffers for renewable electricity (once the buffering capacity of hydro dams has been exhausted). It is not unusual that technology ends up being used in ways not envisioned by its developers.


H2 is a Rube Goldberg delight. Why would it ever make sense to put in anything but a constantly driven commercial vehicle, ie dosent it lose fuel constantly?
I tried to find whatever happened to those Ballard CTA buses being tested a few years back. The best answer I got was theyre gathering dust in some warehouse. Surely the teck has advanced beyond that by now no?


Big oil goes for h2 because they already produce h2 on a massive scale for making cleaner normal fuels. Its a tech they already know alot about and its exactly the sort of tech they are suited for. Mind you those same companies in many cases will also buy stock in biofuels production as well BUT in those cases its far far better if a FOOD company is running the show as they know alot more about crops and farming then an oil company does.


Remember the info about oil to hydrogen for about 80% efficiency versus 80% efficiency to make gasoline from oil. Whatever grades they get in the future could be turned into hydrogen. If hydrogen goes over, they will use something else to make the hydrogen. I would imagine oil companies will stay in the energy business, one way or the other.


The road to H2 economy is not one way. The oil companies will make it a Hobson's choice and use of oil resource (methane) to get to H2 economy not much of a choice. The conflict of interest is that the oil companies have no interest in rising above their self interest, therefore this is all pretext, grandstanding PR, i'll give you a clever stratey. The harm inflicted is that any alternative energy company or one thinking about investing in an alternative energy company will be detoured.

The true goal is not H2 economy, but to get off environmentally damaging energy without sacrificing standard of living and quality of life. How we get there should not increase the damage.


Cheryl Ho

Since DME has an advantage of decomposition at lower temperature than methane and LPG, R&D for hydrogen source for fuel cell has been carried out. DME has a potential of feedstock for chemicals. DME to olefins is under development in Japan.

If you would like to know more on the latest DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information: www.iceorganiser.com

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