Big budget for flagship project
The H2ME project has a total budget of nearly €68 million (US$76 million), including €32 million ($36 million) in co-funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU).
Combining national initiatives
H2ME is the largest European project of its kind, and is based around an alliance of the four most ambitious hydrogen mobility initiatives in Europe: H2 Mobility Deutschland in Germany, Mobilité Hydrogène France, the Scandinavian Hydrogen Highway Partnership, and UK H2Mobility.
These initiatives originally brought together the key stakeholders in the hydrogen sector – vehicle manufacturers, hydrogen refueling station providers, and government – to study and develop strategies to make hydrogen-fueled transport a reality in their respective regions.
The project also includes Austria, Belgium, and The Netherlands as ‘observer countries’, who will use the learnings from this project to develop their own hydrogen mobility strategies.
Adding 200 FCEVs and 29 hydrogen stations
The four existing initiatives will now work together to make hydrogen-fueled transport a reality in Europe. Under H2ME they will deploy 200 FCEVs from Daimler and Hyundai, 125 fuel cell range-extended electric commercial vans (Symbio FCell with Renault), and 29 new hydrogen refueling stations in 10 countries – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK – by 2019.
This plan ties in with existing national-level initiatives for the rollout of a large-scale hydrogen refueling infrastructure, aimed at enabling zero-emissions driving across Europe.
Participation of global leaders
The H2ME consortium, led by UK-based consultancy Element Energy, includes global leaders in the hydrogen and fuel cell sector, from fuel cell and car manufacturers and infrastructure providers to data monitoring and dissemination organisations.
The participants are H2 Mobility Deutschland, Linde, EIFER European Institute for Energy Research, Daimler, Hyundai Motor Europe, and Honda R&D Europe in Germany; Symbio FCell, Air Liquide, McPhy Energy, AREVA H2-Gen, and the Communauté d’Agglomération Sarreguemines Confluences in France; ITM Power, Intelligent Energy, BOC, CENEX Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies, and Nissan Motor Manufacturing in the UK; and H2 Logic in Denmark, Falkenberg Energi in Sweden, HYOP in Norway, Icelandic New Energy, Waterstofnet in Belgium, and OMV in Austria.
The original agreements for the project were signed in July, and Symbio FCell and Daimler have already delivered the first vehicles to customers in France and Germany.
Readiness of the technology
‘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,’ says Ben Madden, director at Element Energy and overall project coordinator.
Madden continues: ‘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 rollout of the technology.’
Alongside HyFIVE project
The H2ME project will run alongside the HyFIVE project, which began in April 2014 and will run to the end of September 2017. This €38 million ($43 million) UK-led initiative – with funding of €18 million ($20 million) from the FCH JU – will deploy 110 vehicles and add six hydrogen refueling stations to the 12 already in service in the participating regions of the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Italy.