This month important EU programs for the commercialization of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell applications gathered in Brussels and Antwerp. The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking celebrated its mid-term Stakeholder General Assembly highlighting the contribution of several projects to its commercialization objective. EHA participates as dissemination partner in 5 projects that were included: HyFACTS, FC-HyGuide, SHEL, HyLIFT-DEMO, HyPROFESSIONALS.
In the keynote on the following day the need to leverage more public funding at all levels to support a smooth market roll out was one of the key messages. Following the events, the EHA interviewed FCH JU president of the Governing Board Pierre Etienne Franc and asked him how he views the role of national associations as well as the EHA.
The EU Trans European Network for Transport invited the president of HyER , the renamed HyRaMP Partnership for Hydrogen Fuels Cells and Electro-Mobility in European Regions, to its info days on the new TEN-T Guidelines in Antwerp to present his views on how hydrogen and fuel cell technologies could best be integrated in the TEN-T network in the coming 20 years. The EHA and HyER are currently exploring the preparation of proposal under the upcoming TEN-T Call.
This year’s edition of the FCH JU stakeholder’s meeting brought to light inspiring developments of the past year, while increased participation of European level decision makers flagged that the sector is receiving more national and European political support. EHA took the opportunity to discuss the event and impressions with Mr. Pierre Etienne Franc, current Chairman of the Governing Board of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the European industry-led private-public partnership working towards acceleration of market deployment of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies. Mr. Franc has more than 15 years of experience from the Air Liquide Group, most recently heading its Technologies of the Future department. He takes up the lead of the Joint Undertaking at a crucial stage of the debate regarding the future of European energy and transport systems as well as the financial framework for the application of new technologies.
EHA: During the Stakeholder’s Assembly this month we heard numerous times from the European Commission representatives that Europe has changed its perspective in the last year(s) and has accepted Hydrogen as an energy vector. What is your impression?
Mr. Franc: What is very important to take from the event is that for the first time we had a very good support of severalDirectorates of the European Commission. Research was always well behind us, because this is our “home” in some ways, but representatives from DG MOVE, DG Energy, DG Climate Action and Commissioner Cabinets members are now increasingly present and active; which means hydrogen has moved much further from research. We believe by 2020 the various applications of hydrogen and Fuel Cells will be market ready, this is why we need extensive investments in the field.