Yesterday, at a signing ceremony in Copenhagen, the car manufacturers Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Hyundai signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with organisations from the Nordic Countries on market introduction of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure during the period 2014-2017. The MoU will catalyse a dialogue with public and private stakeholders in Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark on securing relevant financing and support mechanisms for accelerating the market introduction.

Car manufacturers have invested significantly in the development of FCEVs in the past decade. Alongside, infrastructure companies have continuously developed hydrogen production and refuelling technologies and standards, in particular within the Nordic countries.

The results are promising, with FCEVs today providing the same long range and fast refuelling as conventional gasoline powered vehicles. In 2009 several of the world’s leading car manufactures signed an agreement aiming for 2015 as a potential year for market introduction for FCEVs in regions where the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling is available.

National network organisations within Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have actively worked for the establishment and planning of hydrogen refuelling stations since 2006, under the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership(SHHP). The infrastructure companies HYOP AS (Norway), H2 Logic A/S (Denmark) and others have invested significantly since 2006 in the opening of several hydrogen refuelling stations within the countries and are actively preparing plans for countrywide networks beyond 2015.

The rich variety of renewable energy sources in the Nordic countries also provides a strong case for sustainable hydrogen production, which in turn can help storing and balancing even higher shares of fluctuating renewable electricity in the Nordic power grids

Toward 2015 important steps and decisions have to be taken to ensure a successful market introduction. In particular the engagement of private stakeholders such as national energy companies and investors is key to realize the hydrogen infrastructure roll-out. Governments in turn should provide stable long term market conditions and mechanisms to foster a coordinated roll-out. The Nordic MoU will catalyze a dialogue among the central stakeholders on these topics