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European Parliament Adopts Legislative Report for EU Type Approval of Hydrogen Vehicles; Support for Hydrogen Blends and European Hydrogen Filling Station Network

The European Parliament adopted a legislative report proposing the establishment of harmonized technical provisions for the type approval of hydrogen-powered vehicles for the first time. There is a need to introduce EU-wide approval criteria for such vehicles, to safeguard not only the operation of the single market but also to ensure a high level of safety and environmental protection, according to the Parliament.

Since hydrogen-powered vehicles are not currently included in the EC type-approval system, Member States may grant approvals for such vehicles on a one-time basis without having to lay down new laws. In such a practice there is a risk that every Member State will draw up its own approval conditions.

This would lead to higher costs for manufacturers, create safety risks and also considerably impede the spread of hydrogen technology in the EU. For these reasons the rapporteur regards the Commission proposal as an important step towards obtaining alternative fuels for the transport sector.

An EU type-approval regulation could point the way forward for an international approval system as well.

Sales of electric cars and other alternatives have soared but hydrogen cars are only on the cusp of large scale production. This new law will boost the development of these vehicles while ensuring they are reliable and safe.

—Arlene McCarthy MEP

The report also suggests that hydrogen mixtures could be used as a transition fuel towards the use of pure hydrogen, to facilitate the introduction of hydrogen powered vehicles in countries where there is a good natural gas infrastructure.

It calls for the Commission also to develop requirements for the use of mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas/biomethane, especially a mixing ratio of hydrogen and gas which takes account of technical feasibility and environmental benefits.

However, in the future, hydrogen powered vehicles should be vehicles propelled by pure hydrogen produced as far as possible from renewable energies. Use of mixtures of hydrogen and natural gas/biomethane to propel vehicles must be no more than a transitional technology, according to MEPs.

The report also notes that as hydrogen powered vehicles are unlikely to be successful on the market unless adequate filling station infrastructure is available in Europe, the Commission should look into suitable measures to support the establishment of a Europe-wide filling-station network for hydrogen powered vehicles.

The legislative report was adopted with 644 votes in favor, 2 against and 11 abstentions.



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