At the 7th Stakeholder Forum of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking on November 12, five major bus manufacturers, Evobus, MAN, Solaris, Van Hool and VDL signed a Letter of Understanding on commercial development of fuel cell hybride buses. (Photo: London fuel cell buses lining up at London Bridge station).

Olaf Scholz, mayor of Hamburg indicated that indeed the ball is now in the  manufacturers’ hands to offer reliable and affordable products, as cities like Hamburg are ready to support various fuel cell applications.  Hamburg’s public entities  for example are required to use electric vehicles whenever possible and already 300 EV are used by public offices. The City of Hamburg intends to expand the use of fuel cell electric vehicles in the coming years as they are more flexible than battery electric .  Also maritime and aerospace applications are being tested in Hamburg: stationary applications for ships need still international regulatory support. FC  APU applications in aircraft are also promising.

Kit Malthouse, London’s vice mayor presented London’s aggressive policy to clean up transport and its avant-garde support for fuel cell and hydrogen technology,  but he insisted on industry to show their commitment to quick roll out: industry and policy makers are currently “look like nervous lovers…we need a groom that gets down on his knees to present the ring and promise a happy life together ever after”, he mused.

Christian Mohrdieck, director of drive development Fuel Cell System of Daimler referred to the continuous efforts of Daimler to ensure the market readiness of their FCEV. Also Takuya Hasegawa , senior research manager referred to the need to ensure a good product and that only 3% of the car customers is buying 50K plus vehicles. He indicated that the history of gasoline refuelling stations started actually with portable stations. Filip Van Hool presented the Van Hool clean bus activities indicating  battery and fuel cell technology will be part of clean bus development. All agreed that Japan and the USA policy measures seem more effective to support deployment.

Luc Poyer, CEO of Eon in France indicated his company commitment to hydrogen as a storage medium but referred to regulatory and financing challenges. Gaelle Hotellier Siemens’ executive vice president responsible for hydrogen system solutions referred to her company’s longstanding commitment to electrolyser manufacturing. She pointed out to the need for a comprehensive production s framework with clear roles for different suppliers and system integrators as well as coordinated explanation on what is energy storage and why it is needed.

Bert de Colvenaer, director of the FCH JU program office described the use FCH JU funding to facilitate the market uptake of fuel cells buses, HRS deployment and micro FC systems. Bernard Frois as chairman of the FCH JU State Representatives Group concluded that there is momentum now to combine funding opportunities to close the gap to commercialisation.