Fresh of its victory from installing the first publicly-accessible hydrogen refueling station in the UK, ITM Power is going after the rest of the continent, or at least nine other countries throughout Western Europe. The company, like others before it, will try to address the rather expensive chicken-or-egg issue of providing enough hydrogen refueling stations for the fuel-cell vehicles, and getting enough vehicles to make the stations worth it. The company is leading a $36-million effort to do just that.

ITM is leading the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project, which combines four programs: H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, Mobilité Hydrogène France, Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership and UK H2 Mobility. The collaboration includes automakers Daimler, Hyundai, Honda and Nissan. It also includes companies such as Linde, H2Logic, Air Liquide. The total investment is estimated at 32 million euros ($36 million).

The goal is to have enough of an infrastructure to support 200 fuel-cell vehicles and 125 fuel-cell range-extended electric utility vans throughout 10 countries by 2019. The plan follows last week's announcement from ITM about the opening of the first publicly-accessible hydrogen refueling station in the UK. The station, located about 200 miles north of London, also has the support of Honda and Hyundai, as well as Toyota. All three automakers have hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles available now or soon for the curious public. A British Microcab will also be part of that fuel-cell demonstration project. Take a look at ITM Power's press release below.
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H2ME Project
ITM Power (AIM: ITM), the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to note the press release issued today by the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project ("H2ME"), for which ITM Power is the coordinator for UK activities. The Company's role in H2ME provides a further demonstration of the Company's leading position in the developing global hydrogen refuelling markets. The text of the announcement from H2ME is set out below:

Hydrogen Mobility Europe

The most ambitious hydrogen mobility initiatives in Europe have joined forces to support the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled transport

A large coalition of European partners has launched the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project (H2ME). H2ME is co-funded with €32 million from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU). The project will support the deployment of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) and Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRS) across Europe.

H2ME is the largest European project of this nature and is based around an alliance of the four most ambitious hydrogen mobility initiatives in Europe: H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, Mobilité Hydrogène France, Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership and UK H2 Mobility. These initiatives originally brought together the key stakeholders in the hydrogen sector (vehicle manufacturers, hydrogen refuelling station providers and Government representatives), to study and develop strategies to make hydrogen-fuelled transport a reality in the respective regions.

These initiatives will now be working together to make hydrogen-fuelled transport a reality in Europe. Under H2ME they will deploy 200 FCEVs, 125 fuel cell range-extended electric (FC RE-EVs) commercial vans and 29 new HRSs in 10 countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) by 2019. This plan ties in with existing national level initiatives for the roll-out of a large scale hydrogen refuelling infrastructure, aimed at enabling Europe wide emission-free driving.

The consortium, led by Element Energy, includes global leaders in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector, from fuel cells and car manufacturers (Daimler, SymbioFCell, Hyundai, Honda, Intelligent Energy, Nissan) and infrastructure providers (Air Liquide, BOC, H2Logic, ITM Power, Linde, McPhy, OMV, AREVA, EIFER, H2 MOBILITY Deutschland, HYOP, Icelandic New Energy, Communauté d'Agglomération Sarreguemines Confluences) to data monitoring and dissemination organisations (Cenex, WaterstofNet).

The original agreements for the project were signed in July this year and the project has already delivered the first vehicles to customers in France and Germany (Daimler, SymbioFCell).

Bert De Colvenaer, Executive Director of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking stated:" To bring Fuel Cell and Hydrogen technology to the point of market readiness does require Europe wide coordination and financial support for the first movers. The Joint Undertaking is therefore keen and happy to support the implementation of this important project as part of the early Europe wide deployment of Fuel Cell Hydrogen vehicles, thereby showcasing the full potential of this European Public Private Partnership."

Ben Madden, Director at Element Energy and Overall Coordinator said: "We are very pleased to be leading this project which will lead to a significant change in the rate and scale of hydrogen vehicle and refuelling station deployment in Europe. A huge international effort over the past two decades has developed hydrogen vehicle technology to the point where it is technically ready for market introduction. H2ME will allow a widespread demonstration of the readiness of the technology, as well as developing valuable insights about the early customer experience and practical challenges of a widespread roll-out of the technology".

Frank Sreball, Managing Director of the Joint Venture H2 MOBILITY Deutschland and coordinator for the German activities under H2ME said: "The start of this project is a decisive step towards the construction of a dense network of hydrogen stations in Germany. A reliable hydrogen infrastructure is a fundamental requirement for the roll-out of fuel cell electrical vehicles from series production in the next years. With our partners we want to prove that hydrogen energy is an innovative solution for the challenges of sustainable mobility. The large number of hydrogen stations and cars in the project will allow a meaningful analysis and evaluation of operational data. We expect that the findings of this project will help us to overcome the remaining obstacles on the way to market introduction".

Fabio Ferrari, CEO, Symbio FCell and coordinator for the French activities under H2ME commented: "Mobilité Hydrogène France has developed a roll-out strategy with a first phase based on the deployment of fleets of vehicles sharing public and semi-public hydrogen refuelling stations. This simultaneous deployment of fuel cell vehicles and infrastructure will create the basis for a nationwide infrastructure, ready for passenger cars. This strategy is gathering real interest from many customers in a number of French cities, and the first deployments of vehicles and fuelling stations have already begun. In order to scale up and make fuel cell vehicles attractive to all consumers and to passenger car manufacturers, it is essential to invest in refuelling infrastructure coverage across France and across Europe. This is why we believe that a pan-European coordinated plan is absolutely key to the long term success of this promising technology for clean mobility".

Jon Bjorn Skulason, General Manager, Icelandic New Energy Ltd and coordinator for the Scandinavian activities under H2ME said: "Today fuel cell electric vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations are in daily use across the Scandinavian countries. The H2ME project will help to continue the Scandinavian efforts on market introduction – specifically contributing to securing a continuous growth in vehicles and stations."

Dr Rachel Smith, Executive Director, ITM Power plc and coordinator for the UK activities under H2ME commented: "The H2ME project is a fantastic opportunity to develop the refuelling infrastructure in the UK. The project is perfectly timed to coincide with the introduction of fuel cell cars in Europe, enabling evaluation of end-user experiences of hydrogen stations and FCEVs. The UK Consortia, led by ITM Power is delighted to participate in this project and to demystify the role of hydrogen, show the readiness of the stations and vehicles, and to enable the widespread and rapid adoption of clean emission transport."

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