Today (during the TEN-T Days 2012: 28th November 2012) in Brussels, the Hydrogen Infrastructure for Transport (HIT) project  had its official Kick-Off.  The HIT project aims at stimulating the deployment of hydrogen refueling infrastructure serving fuel cell electric vehicles along key TEN-T corridors. The HIT project will develop a Synchronized Implementation Plan for hydrogen refuelling stations roll-out along a first 1000 km corridor from Gothenburg to Rotterdam and demonstrate state of the art refuelling technology through the construction of three pilot stations in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Hydrogen is perceived as one of the promising answers for greening the transport mobility energy chain – and is now coming to the stage of market implementation on the TEN-T network. At the moment, an increasing number of hydrogen hotspots (usually in the form of subsidised projects) are emerging in densely populated areas, where the zero emission feature offers the largest advantages to improving the local air quality.

The HIT project bases itself on this reality and is comprised of both studies and the actual deployment of pilot Hydrogen Refuelling Stations. The proposed studies are aiming at strategies to migrate from the status quo of local hotspots to actual local markets and from there to long distance transport and mobility along the TEN-T corridors. A strong selling point to use hydrogen as an energy carrier for long distance transport is that it’s a perfect range extender for electric vehicles. The ambition of HIT is to kick-off a EU network of Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRS) to facilitate clean and sustainable transport along the main transport axis in Europe, thereby turning these into Green corridors.

Coordinated by the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, seven partners work together in HIT: Air Liquide, AFHYPAC (French National Association for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen), Copenhagen Hydrogen Network (CHN), HyER (the European Association for Hydrogen, fuel cells and Electro-mobility in European Regions), Hydrogen Link Denmark, Hydrogen Sweden. The HIT project is supported by a EU grant issued through the TEN-T Programme, contributing 50% to the project’s realisation. The project includes a pilot station of Air Liquide in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and two in Denmark by the CHN. In addition it will link to initiatives already underway in Germany and the UK.

HyER (the European Association for Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Electro-mobility in European Regions) facilitated a Ride&Drive session of hydrogen fuel cell and electric vehicles.  Furthermore, hydrogen fuel cell bus Van Hool (bus supplier in the Clean Hydrogen In European Cities project and High V.LO-City project Coordinator) and the 18-meter long hybrid Phileas bus transported participants from Midi Station (Brussels) to the event venue (The Egg). Vice-President Kallas also had the opportunity to hop on the bus and hydrogen-powered passenger car (supplied by the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, FCH JU) and know more about the technology.