Brussels, 05 Oct 2006
Some 48 companies involved in the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (HFP) signed a declaration on creating a Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) on the eve of the Platform's annual conference. JTIs are long-term public-private partnerships intended to boost technology in specific fields, and will receive funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Only a limited number of JTIs will be created.
The Implementation Plan identifies the total budget for the JTI to be €6.7 billion for 2007 to 2015, which should be provided by both the public and private sectors.
According to a statement from the HFP, 'This industrial backing could result in more than €5 billion being invested in hydrogen research over the next 10 years. The statement continues: 'The partners anticipate that the level of investment from industry will probably continue and increase beyond 2016. Subject to ongoing negotiations, and the expected overall increase in FP7 [Seventh Framework Programme) budgets, the EC will increase the FP6 investment of €75m/year.'
Speaking on 4 October, EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik described JTIs as all parties 'moving to maturity on mechanisms for collaboration'.
He gave his support to the declaration, but warned that the Council and European Parliament will also need to be convinced that such a JTI could really make a difference.
Priority actions outlined in the Implementation Plan include:
- developing vehicle and infrastructure technologies to kick-start commercialisation by 2015 or earlier with particular emphasis on cost reductions and infrastructure build-up;
- supplying 10-20% of hydrogen energy demand with CO2-free or lean technologies by 2015;
- fuel cells for combined heat and power - having more than 1 gigwatt (GW) capacity in operation by 2015;
- bringing thousands of fuel cell products to the market by 2010.