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The technology is here, but where’s the infrastructure?

Bernard Frois

Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technology is ready for commercial deployment. Presentations at a recent specialist conference in Brussels confirmed that vehicles are already available whose range, tank capacity and design, fuel-cell life and net efficiency are in line with consumer needs. Delegates were impressed with the vehicles available to drive. And for Daimler, one speaker said, hydrogen cars are no longer prototypes but the first cars of a generation that will reach the market in 2014-15. Huge challenges remain to get costs down and build up dedicated hydrogen-refuelling infrastructure.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking is an autonomous public-private partnership intent on giving Europe a lead in clean energy and transport by accelerating the development of fuel-cell and hydrogen technologies. Its members are the European Commission, an industry grouping of 56 companies, and a research grouping of 66 universities and research institutes. Its total budget is €940 million for 2008-13. Operational costs are invested directly in R&D projects.

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