On 13 November, High V.LO-City was well represented at  Autoworld, Brussels’ cars museum. At the occasion of the FCH-JU (Fuel-Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) Stakeholders General Assembly, some 350 participants had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Van Hool’s Fuel Bus, displayed in front of the conference.

During the conference, high-level speakers from the European Institutions (MEP Panayotov, rapporteur for the FCH-JU 2 report, high officials of DG Mobility&Transport and DG Research&Innovation of the European Commission), international companies, SMEs, research and national authorities expressed their strategic vision of how fuel cells and hydrogen can help achieve EU 2020 targets.

Among the outstanding speakers, the European Commissioner for Energy, Günther Öttinger delivered a key note speech in which he stated that a clear European vision and close coordination between regulatory authorities and industry is needed to create a competitive, secure and sustainable Europe. The commissioner concluded his speech with the following statement: ” hydrogen might be a small atom, but it can play a big role int he energy future”.

The General assembly ended with a presentation by Mr De Colvenaer of the achievements of the FCH-JU since its launch in 2008. The main results can be highlighted as follow: In the transport sector: 49 FC buses, 37 FC passenger cars and 95 FC mini cars are on European roads, 13 new refueling stations were built, while the hydrogen consumption of FC buses has halved and hydrogen cost is now less than 10€/kg. In the stationary sector, 1,000 domestic Combined Heat and Power generators are being installed, the cost has decreased by 50%, the efficiency is of 90% and the lifetime up to 8 years. In the early markets sector: More than 400 material handling vehicles are running and 19 back up power units.

The entire hydrogen and fuel cell community is now looking at the next step: the Proposal for a Council Regulation on the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking (FCH-JU 2), which will create the basis for a renewed public-private partnership to expand the use of clean and efficient technologies in transport, industry and energy. The new programme will have a €1.4 billion  budget under Horizon 2020, equally shared by the private sector and European Union.

“This is a marathon, this is not a sprint”, “we do well but we can do better”, and we need a “business case” were the concluding remarks of Mr Bert De Colvenaer, the executive director of the FCH-JU .

The FCH-JU Review Days took place during the two previous days on 11 and 12 November. Some information about the event here.

Press release of the FCH-JU here.

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