Last Friday, a group of "energy" (they're not just oil companies anymore) and car companies announced plans to work together on developing a hydrogen delivery infrastructure, in Europe. The lack of a mechanism for delivering hydrogen is only one of the stumbling blocks to moving to hydrogen. Storage and delivery of the fuel has never been done on a wide scale. It makes sense for energy companies and vehicle manufacturers to work together, because any delivery method will require standardization. Life would be very difficult if every gasoline pump had a different type of nozzle. The same problem applies no matter what type of fuel is used. The group is taking up the European Lighthouse Projects that have already been agreed upon by the public and private sector in Europe. They have a time-line that is aiming at commercialization of hydrogen vehicles beginning in 2015. The full press release from DaimlerChrysler is after the jump.
Hydrogen and fuel cell technology will bring significant change in the way Europe produces and uses energy. While the public and private sectors already agreed that so-called Lighthouse Projects, integrating all aspects of hydrogen production, distribution and use, are the necessary next step, the group of energy companies and vehicle manufacturers believe that now is the time to move forward. In a common position paper, the companies have defined a near and mid term action plan to pave the way for the introduction of hydrogen-based mobility in Europe.
The companies are together convinced that a joint approach between energy companies and vehicle manufacturers is an excellent means to bridge the gap between the present individual demonstration activities and future commercially available hydrogen vehicles including the corresponding refueling infrastructure.
While each company is pursuing its own specific timelines, the group has commonly identified key phases over the next decade, comprising continuous technology development and cost reduction, pre-commercial technology refinement and market preparation, with commercialisation of hydrogen powered vehicles potentially starting around 2015.
The companies have identified a number of criteria for the implementation of Lighthouse Projects in Europe. A key priority moving forward is to concentrate efforts on a focused region for passenger cars, leveraging all resources in order to maximize learnings. Based on these requirements, the group sees these Lighthouse Projects initially rolling out in Berlin for cars and city buses, and in additional selected cities and regions for city buses. All lessons learned will be shared across all regions, as will continuing education and outreach.
Implementing next steps requires contributions from all public and private stakeholders involved in hydrogen and fuel cell technology. Therefore, the group is happy to welcome the engagement and contribution of additional companies as this initiative moves forward.
This is a common press release from:
Ford Motor Company
General Motors Europe AG
MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG
Shell Hydrogen B.V.