The European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) has issued a second call for proposals for research. Around €140 million (US$196 million) has been allocated to this second call, with €71.3 million by the Commission matched by in-kind contributions of the industrial partners. The FCH JTI, an EU-wide collaborative private-public partnership, has a total budget amounts around €1 billion (US$1.4 billion) to be invested in hydrogen and fuel cell research and development by 2014. (Earlier post.)
The 29 project topics in the second call aim to put fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies on the market two to five years sooner than what is estimated without the support the JTI offers. Selected teams of researchers will investigate bottlenecks in the whole range of applications for these energy technologies, from cars to large scale power plants, as well as the whole supply chain from hydrogen production to demonstration of the market-readiness of applications.
Research supported by the call should foster the use of hydrogen-fueled buses and fuel cell vehicles. It is intended to help develop hydrogen storage and improve fuel cell durability, performance and the cost-efficiency to make applications such as power stations or laptops ready for the market.
The funding in the second call is allocated to five specific areas:
Transportation & Refuelling Infrastructure (€26.4 million of FCH JTI funding). This includes projects such as: large-scale demonstration of road vehicles and refuelling infrastructure; development of electric driven turbocharger for fuel cells (air supply systems) to further improve system performance, efficiency and robustness; development and optimization of PEM fuel cell electrodes and gas diffusion layers (GDLs) with the overall aim of producing produce MEAs (membrane electrode assemblies) with significant specific cost reduction (i.e. cost/power); cryogenic hydrogen storage; pre-normative research (PNR) on composite storage; and pre-normative research (PNR) on fuel quality.
Hydrogen Production & Distribution (€5.7 million). This includes projects on: development of fuel processing catalyst, modules & systems; development of gas purification technologies for hydrogen production; new generation of high temperature electrolyzer; and improved solid state hydrogen storage systems.
Stationary Power Generation & CHP (€25.9 million). This includes projects on: fundamentals of fuel cell degradation for stationary power application; materials development for cells, stacks and balance of plant (BoP); operation diagnostics and control for stationary application; component improvement for stationary power applications; proof-of-concept fuel cell systems; validation of integrated fuel cell systems readiness; build and field demonstration of stationary fuel cell systems; and application specific targets for stationary power generation and related technology benchmarks.
Early Markets (€10.3 million). This includes projects on: demonstration of fuel cell powered materials handling vehicles and infrastructure; portable generators, backup and UPS power systems; demonstration of portable and micro fuel cells for various applications; miniaturized balance of plant components; PNR & RCS (Regulations & Codes and Standards) on the indoor use of fuel cells; and early demand stimulation schemes.
Cross-cutting Issues (€3.0 million). This includes projects on: development of educational programs; training initiatives for regulators; outreach programs; development of a framework for Technology Monitoring and Assessments (TMA); and development of a framework for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
The application deadline for the call is 15 October 2009 and projects selected for contract negotiations will be announced in March 2010.
The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen JTI was launched on 14 October 2008. Its main goal is to speed up the development of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies in Europe to enable their commercialization between 2010 and 2020. Current membership includes the European Commission and 64 companies, from multinationals to small and medium enterprises, represented by the European Industry Grouping for the FCH JTI (NEW IG), as well as 54 universities and research institutes, represented by the Research Grouping N.ERGHY, engaging more than 2,000 researchers in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen.