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

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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Riiiiight. They will just take the money out of the $2 trillion they have to spend to bail out the banks to get credit to flow.

Don't hold your breath for these investments. You will be dead long before a penny is actually spent.

K

Normally technical guidance to be funded by a bureau of a bureau of a bureau.... wouldn't get my vote as promising. Talk of "ensuring the cooperation of all stakeholders" sounds very Central Planningish.

But considering the stock markets this morning capitalism isn't my theme of the day.

The more interesting part is reading between the lines.

We see they don't expect much for six years, 2015, on H or fuel cells as a normal consumer product. Ponder that along with Honda's 2007 study which said 2018. Add the fiasco of fuel cell bus trials like CTTRANSIT which can be read now on GCC.

It adds up to pretty gloomy news. There are many offsetting happy statements and predictions. So I think no one can truly know when and if or ever.

jv

Yes, fuel cells are yesterday's news again. Even Bloom Energy is talking about powerplant FCs again. Probably using coal gas - which might be a good thing that somebody could actually do.

Hydrogen is a silly fuel for anything more than rockets. Better to come up with ways to make it from a different feedstock than oil and natural gas to make ammonia to make fertilizer. 15% of oil/ng goes to fertilizer. We starve without that.

Real world knocking. This is earth. There are many important things that need to be done with energy, transportation and food for this world. Asinine, government funded silliness like usng hydrogen to drive cars just are not up on the list of important right now.

Time to grow up and do the hard things now. (I was a 70's kid in college and wanted very badly to do alternative energy stuff with my engineering degree. All that died out for good reasons - it doesn't work very well at all. It is a little better now and more important than ever now. It will be very hard and take a very long time. Put the toys like hydrogen away and get on with it.)

clett

Why? Why? Why? Why does this craziness continue?

I thought even the politicians had finally understood the realities of hydrogen.

Darius

Why? Why? Why? Why does this craziness continue?

I thought even the politicians had finally understood the realities of hydrogen.
_______________

I agree with you 1000%

Anne

Good money thrown at what will for ever be the 'technology of the future'.

@$$:

Don't hold your breath for these investments. You will be dead long before a penny is actually spent.

I wish it were true. The money WILL be spent on hydrogen refilling stations, that will only be used by the drivers that take part in the pilots, subsidised with the same money.

jindaclub

what is up with all these negative thoughts???? then let me ask you negative people something..

Besides fuel cells, what are other possible alternative energy devices out there???? Are you guys going to keep using the ICE with gasoline which produces so much greenhouse gases under no filtering process what so ever for next 10-20 years and die from the severe natural disaster caused by the global warming effect???

Why do you think so much money is invested in this technology?? Because it is going to work you silly!! Come on everyone!! let's be more positive and try to look for new things that will save our precious planet because as someone said "we do not inherent the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children~~~"

stas peterson

This is an example of government at its "best", wasting precious resources on PC dreams for know-nothing policy wonks, that got themselves appointed, to positions of influence. I'm sure that for every dollar given to the boondoggle, ten dollars will be spent by the bureaucracy "monitoring" the lack of progress.

FCEVs solve nothing, as the effect of converting fossil to H2 is more wasteful than using it as a liquid in an ICE.

When H2 made from electrolizing H2O is economical, there would be no longer any concern for Energy. It would have to be unlimited, and essentially free. Those times are coming, despite the wails of ther Cassandras, but not for a generation or two. The breakthroughs to accomplish that have been made, but the practical engineering is long and expensive.

It's not like the emissions problem can't be solved without the exhausting of massive quantities of ONLY the worst GHG, H2O, into the atmosphere, with FCEVs.

(BTW, When is the Algore going to suggest roofing over the Oceans, to prevent runaway H2O GHGs, from being taken up by the atmosphere?)

In the 2008 model year the CARB bureaucrats certified 56 models of automobiles as achieving PZEV or AT-PZEV status. That means ZERO POLLUTION folks, and nary a one was a FCEV.

Mark M

Fuel cells make headlines and this allows us to believe that our leaders are actually doing somthing, when really it amounts to nothing.
The $ billions floated to the N.American and European banks over the past few weeks was not available for other programs such as conservation, technology, the environment or other needy causes related to global warming and pollution. They obviously don't believe it's true even though they say they do.

sulleny

Actually Mark, Global Warming and Pollution are two entirely different things. Global warming according to Climate Disasterists - is a direct result of atmospheric CO2 (at .0385 percent) Pollution, SO2, SO4, benzine, etc. is toxic stuff that actually harms human beings.

The oil industry is getting desperate to solidify their next generation fuel. They want it to be H2. But they need to be careful, because as has been pointed out - making H2 from water will turn out to be a relatively easy thing. It will be cheap and... (insert choking sound) essentially free. In that case, the oil guys are staring at each other saying: "Who you gonna call?"

G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996

jindaclub: "Because it is going to work you silly"? The governments in question take huge profits on hydrocarbon motor fuels. In seeking to give the impression of funding R&D into alternatives to hydrocarbons, they might well fund an alternative because they expect it not to work.

Continued internal combustion yes, with hydrocarbons no.

db

What's shocking about this is how much money they continue to pump into this dead duck even when the numbers show that hydrogen is a waste of money and energy.

Consider this:
Ignoring that there is no hydrogen refueling infrastructure (and one would be incredibly expensive to build), there is also the interesting little tidbit that hydrogen vehicles costs 5-10X what an equivalent gasoline or diesel vehicle costs and 3-6X what an equivalent hybrid or EV costs.
In addition, they are only 2X as efficient as internal combustion engines.

The most ridiculous thing about hydrogen vehicles is that they are really electric vehicles, but powered by fuel cells. The fuel loses energy at every stage.

Why not just use the electricity directly instead of using it to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, transport the hydrogen, compress it in the fuel cell, burn it again and get electricity out to power the electric motors?

Mark M

Yes I know that global warming and pollution are two different things but oil and gas production and usage does both; reducing our dependance and cleaning up one also cleans up the other, both are important.

jv

Sorry oil and gas and CO2 do not contribute to global warming. Faith based argument that goes nowhere with no verifiable data to prove anything.

Just the raw energy at 100% efficient conversion of water into H2 to replace 1/2 the year 2000 US transportation fuel usage will take 1300 1000MWe nuclear plants. About $700B just to build them -- without fuel and at cost of current natural gas plants of about $500MM per.

All that does not include nuclear fuel, transmission lines, H2 plants, H2 storage and pipelines, filling stations, insurance costs, credit costs -- all for 1/2 of the year 2000 demand.

BTW there are about 420 nuclear plants in the world today and at that burn rate there is about 50 - 70 years of U235 around pluss or minus. The new plants will have to be liquid metal cooled fast breeders that make Pu239 from U238 with U235 nutrons. Yes, that is weapons grade stuff.

Hydrogen is stupid, unworkable, and the oil companies have about as much interest in making it as they do making peanut butter. They will take the government R&D money until we wise up and stop spending it.

wintermane


The ONLY two questions are how cheap can they get h2 in your tank and how cheap can they make the fuel cell car.

Now they say they can hit less then 3.5 bucks a kilo for h2.. thats... cheap.

They also say they can hit 4000 bucks a pop for the fuel cell stack... That should be cheap enough.

The question is HOW and WHEN?


How to get 3.5 buck h2 is easy.. use something cheaper then the equive of 6 cent per kilo electricity.

How to get a 4k fuel cell stack.... Well its already gone from 1000k to now something like 60k... and they havnt even mass produced any yet... The question is how much platinum do modern fuel cells use AND how expensive are they REALY to make? We dont know... but they sure do.

So now the question REALY is how much h2 are they realy planning to make and for whom?

Are they planning 1 million cars worth? Say sports cars and suvs and luxury cars? Or are they targetting 10-25-50 million cars worth?

1 million fuel cell cars should only need say 4 kilo a week so 4 million kilos of fuel a week or maybe 200 million khw per week. Thats erm uh not a huge amount specialy if alot of it comes from nat gas.

10 million cars.. we are talking say 2 billion kwh per week. 104 billion kwh per year.

How much excess nighttime capacity is there already per year?

No what will make h2 will not be you or me deciding anything. It will be someone somewhere deciding that hey I can buy power at 2.5 cents per kwh at night and sell the h2 for the equive of 5-6 even 20 cents per kwh and STILL undercut gasoline.

K

Wintermane: I think your costs projections are far too low. I'll comment about two.

You seem to believe all H2 produced will be used in the FC. But evaporation and leakage losses plague hydrogen usage.

And the cost of producing a KG does not consider the cost of getting it to a vehicle. Do you envision making the H2 from water or natural gas right at the filling station?

Excess nighttime electrical capacity is cheap only because it is excess. The utility is operating on the most efficient units. At midnight they might not even be covering total cost although they would be covering marginal cost per KWH.

When you try to buy a lot of power at night your unit cost will rise steeply.

wintermane

Earlt hydrogen systems are mostly being designed around the bulk of the h2 comming from a system built under the forcourt of a gas station so ya I dont expect pipelines to matter till much later.

The general likelyhood is that gas stations with access to nat gas supply will use steam reformers onsite. Those without that will use cheapest electric rates they can secure to power elctrolysis. For many that will be under 3 cent per kwh. Where they cant do either of those they will likely truck it in on tube trucks or simply not place an h2 station there;/

Evap/loss was an issue with liquid h2 and early h2 pressure systems its been greatly reduced in later tank designs. That is why the distinction of what type of h2 tank a car/bus uses is soo important as older tanks leak alot newer ones dont.

Personaly I dont have to figure it out the oil companies and whoever else plans to sell h2 for a profit are the ones who have to figure that all out. And I have a feeling they are devoting alot of resources to getting it working.

Fact is its likely h2 will be a more profitable venture then oil in 10-20 years and even if it isnt its a huge ass market anyway and is growing rapidly.. All the reasons needed to make products for it and try to produce it for profit.

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