As summer finally closes in and the first leaves  of autumn begin to fall from the trees, the hydrogen topic appears to be evergreen and continues to grow!

This Autumn the European Hydrogen Road Tour by H2 Moves Scandinavia kicks off, bringing a fleet of FCEVs across Europe spanning 6 countries in an effort to reach out to politicians, industry, press and public through seminars and Ride and Drive events to get the message across – hydrogen vehicles are already here! (see press release)

Scandinavia’s  pioneering efforts in the field of hydrogen  were again demonstrated by the opening of a hydrogen refuelling station in Hynor Lillestrom  recently. This is the fifth hydrogen refuelling station in the Greater Oslo Area, four of which are car-related stations, while all five stations are operating at 700 bar pressure.

Further afield, the hydrogen ‘word’ is spreading – the EHA was contacted by the coordinator an intercity hydrogen program for the southern province of Sri Lanka. The urban council of Weligama recently has set up a hydrogen desk. The hydrogen desk, led by Vittorio Coco, is supported by the Italian government. The EHA after its session on hydrogen opportunities in emerging markets at the last World Hydrogen Energy Conference is currently exploring international cooperation  opportunities under the last FP7 Call.

The energy storage topic is also gaining momentum.   A  collaboration between ITM Power and Germany will investigate the potential of energy storage by the production of hydrogen from ITM Power’s rapid response electrolysis equipment and build a plant to test the performance and operation of power to gas energy storage. In addition 12 leading European partners have teamed up to assess the potential for large scale storage of renewable electricity through underground hydrogen storage in the HyUnder project co financed by the Fuel Cell Joint Undertaking. 

In policy news, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG-MOVE) published a report on the prospect of developing infrastructure for alternative fuels. The report contains a summary of responses in which 61.8% of respondents indicate hydrogen as the alternative fuel that EU should include in a long-term strategy.

Across the Atlantic, the cold weather may slowly start to descend but the US presidency campaign is only beginning to heat up.  The Obama administration has introduced steps to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.  Despite jibes from the Romney/Ryan camp towards Obama’s environmental policy, the administration introduced new fuel efficiency standards that require the automakers to produce more fuel efficient vehicles. The automakers already developing hydrogen-powered vehicles – Toyota, Honda, Daimler, and Hyundai, as well as others are surely saying ‘yes we can!’

The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UK HFCA) welcomed the launch of a new fleet of fuel cell electric taxis in London which coincided with the London 2012 Olympic Games.  Taxis are refuelled at the new SmartFuel hydrogen refuelling station site at Heathrow Airport supplied by Air Products. Although the buzz of the Olympics may seem like a distant summer memory and the victorious Olympians who wowed the London arena this summer descend from the tracks as the athletic season closes, HyER (Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Electromobilty  in European regions) are on their marks, getting ready and set to GO!  HyER as part of their 5th Annual General Assembly will hold a public conference in Brussels which aims to celebrate the achievements and explore the ambitions of HyER. European Commission’s Director-General for Transport Matthias Ruete, Niedersachsen’s Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment Ulla Ihnen and Solvay’s President Jean-Marie Solvay are some of the confirmed speakers. (please see events section for further details and registration).

EHA welcomes everyone back from summer recess and wishes all a productive beginning to the season!