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EU hydrogen and fuel cell think tank taps Hydro

October 11, 2002, 16:00 CEST

Hydro is part of a new European Union "high level group" advising on hydrogen and fuel cells - launched Thursday in Brussels. Hydro Energy president Hilde Myrberg attended the first meeting, hosted by European Commission president Romano Prodi and Commission vice president Loyola de Palacio, in charge of EU energy and transport policy.

"Participation in the high level group - which traverses the entire value chain - is important for us in light of our extensive efforts developing hydrogen as an energy carrier," said Myrberg. "The first meeting was symbolic in designating a joint European hydrogen agenda. A healthy balance of optimism and pragmatism was conveyed with respect to the pace of development."

The group includes top-tier representatives from several major EU auto and energy companies, public utilities, research institutes, transport concerns and policy makers. They will collectively assess the potential benefits of using hydrogen and fuel cells in EU transport, energy production and many other areas - and help pave the way for more focused EU action in this field, the Commission said in a statement.

Initial results are expected by mid-2003 - when a "foresight report" is presented. The document will include a hydrogen and fuel cell research agenda, as well as deployment and commercialization actions, taking into account such issues as innovation, marketing, distribution and infrastructure, safety, public/private partnerships and investments in the hydrogen sector.

"Despite expressed recognition of a long transition period (from fossil fuels to hydrogen), the wish among meeting participants to set clear objectives for a hydrogen future is promising... with respect to the possibility of making a coordinated and realistic action plan," Myrberg commented.

"Hydro's particpation in the planned working groups will enable us to contribute to a focused European agenda with our developed knowledge and expertise. It's a welcome opportunity to be on the inside of such a development."

Towards a hydrogen-based economy

"This is an important choice for Europe," said Prodi. "Hydrogen technology will not only reduce our energy dependency and gas emissions, it will considerably change our socio-economic model and create new opportunities for developing countries in the long run."

Global demand for electricity is expected to double by 2015. Hydrogen will eventually contribute substantially to clean transport and power generation: its only emission is water vapor. But to enable us to move from today's largely fossil fuel based energy economy to a more hydrogen-based one we need more research, know-how and investment, the Commission stated. The high level group will assess progress so far and help devise short-term actions to introduce hydrogen to the market and prepare a long-term hydrogen and fuel cell strategy at EU level.

"I am looking for new and original ways to reduce the European Union's dependence on oil while at the same time contributing to sustainable development," said de Palacio. "Hydrogen and fuel cells offer such a possibility and they can contribute significantly to our policy objective of replacing 20% of automotive fuel with alternative fuels by 2020. In addition, hydrogen brings important opportunities for the distribution of sustainable energy (e.g. renewables) and for decentralised power generation."

Read the entire European Commission pressrelease (and view complete list of group participants):

Hydro EU portal

Also visit Hydro Energy's portal:

Hydro Energy

For further information on EU hydrogen policy please visit:

European Commission for Energy and Transport