NEW-IG (New Energy World Industry Grouping), the leading European industrial association representing a major part of Europe’s hydrogen and fuel cell industry, with more than 60 members – half of them SMEs, welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to renew and strengthen the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) Joint Undertaking.

It is one of five proposed research and innovation partnerships under Horizon 2020 and builds upon the success of the first generation of the programme from 2008-2013. Some 150 projects and over 430 industry and research organisations have won support under the annual, competitive calls for proposals issued by the current programme.

The Proposal for a Council Regulation on the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen 2 Joint Undertaking, released today, creates the basis for a renewed public-private partnership aimed at expanding the use of clean and efficient technologies in transport, industry and energy. It aims to step up activities and move the sector forward with a budget of €1.4 billion until 2020, equally shared by the European private sector and European Union.

Pierre-Etienne Franc, Chairman of the Board of NEW-IG said, “We believe that a robust European programme for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen is the right tool to coordinate objectives, pool resources and advance the technology for the benefit of the European economy. This renewed political and financial support is a sign that Europe will strive to establish this technology as a key enabler for its future energy and transport roadmap. Joint priority setting and a long term perspective are key to enabling private investment in such complex, societal challenges.”

Màire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, added, “Thanks to the current Fuel Cells and Hydrogen partnership, you can take a ride on hydrogen-powered pollution-free buses in five cities across Europe. But much research and development is still needed to make this application of FCH technology widespread and those for clean energy production and storage commercially attractive. The EU and industry will continue to work together under this new initiative to help reduce the carbon footprint of our energy and transport sectors.”

The strategic objectives of the renewed Programme are to;

Boost the share of FCH technologies in a sustainable, low-carbon energy and transport system.

Enhance energy security in Europe (as opposed to dependence on other regions) at affordable prices for end-consumers.

Ensure a world leading, competitive European FCH industry with research excellence leading to industry innovation, growth and jobs.

The implementation of the FCH JU programme of research, development and demonstration for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies for the period 2014 – 2020 is structured around two main innovation pillars in road transport and energy supported by cross-cutting research activities that integrate technologies supporting both energy and transport sectors such as standards, training and studies.

Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy concluded, “This public-private partnership is testament to the very real possibilities of hydrogen as an important energy vector for more sustainable and competitive energy systems. It is combined with an investment in jobs, economic competitiveness, energy efficiency and thus, an investment with environmental benefits too.”