EU project calls for swift introduction of hydrogen energy into transport sector

An EU-funded research project has found that introducing hydrogen into the energy system could reduce the total oil consumption of the road transport sector by 40% between now and 2050, the
HyWays project published its ‘European Hydrogen Energy Roadmap’ on 25 February, drawn up by project partners from industry, research institutes and government agencies in 10 European countries.

The publication of the roadmap comes on the same day as the EU research ministers agreed on essential elements of the Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) to develop fuel cell and hydrogen
technology. Over the next six years, the industry-led public private partnership will receive ?470 million in EU funding, to be matched by investment from industrial partners. The aim is to
speed up the development of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, so that their time-to-market is reduced by two to five years, making them commercially available between 2010 and 2020.

The HyWays roadmap points out that a swift introduction of hydrogen technology into the road transport sector would contribute considerably to the reduction of CO2 emissions. ‘Total
well-to-wheel reduction of CO2 emissions will amount to 190 to 410 Mton per year in 2050,’ the project partners calculate. ‘About 85% of the reduction in emissions is related to road transport,
reducing CO2 emission from road transport by about 50% in 2050.’

In addition, the researchers point out that hydrogen decouples energy demand from resources and could also act as a temporary energy storage medium, thus facilitating the large-scale
introduction of renewable energy into the power system. By acting quickly and taking a leading position in the worldwide market for hydrogen technologies, Europe could also open up new economic
opportunities and strengthen its competitiveness.

At the same time, the hydrogen roadmap clearly states that the cost of end-use applications needs to be reduced considerably: ‘A substantial increase in R&D investments is needed together
with well balanced distribution of deployment to ensure that the economic break-even point is reached as soon as possible at minimum cumulative costs,’ the project partners explain, adding that
greater support for hydrogen technology from policy-makers is needed.

Hydrogen is an energy carrier with zero carbon content. Just like electricity, hydrogen can be produced from all energy resources, such as biomass, wind and solar energy, nuclear energy and
clean fossil fuels. It can be converted to power and heat with high efficiency and zero emissions, especially when used in fuel cells. It improves security of supply due to the decoupling of
demand and resources, allowing each EU Member State to choose its own energy sources.

The HyWays roadmap is based on an analysis of the road transport and energy situation in Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

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