The EU Commission presented on 11 May the results of a pilot programme launched in 2003 that powered 27 hydrogen-fuel cell public buses in 9 European cities, from Amsterdam to Barcelona.
Called "Clean Urban Transport for Europe" (CUTE), the project has helped cast light on the viability of this emissions-free transportation means, according to the Commission. "The question is no longer whether this technology works, but when it will be competitive," Energy Commissioner Andris Pielbags said.
The small-scale CUTE experiment shows that improvements are still needed in areas such as:
- Design, construction and operation of safe hydrogen supply chains and refuelling stations;
- Efficient production and use of tonnes of hydrogen;
- Infrastructure optimisation.
Against this backdrop, the Commission has launched a new "Hydrogen for Transport" initiative to track the performance of 200 hydrogen-powered vehicles during the next three years. Relying on a €105 million public-private investment - of which the European Commission will contribute €48 million, the series of demonstration projects will target buses, passenger cars, scooters and wheel chairs in both European and non-European cities (Beijing, Perth and Reykjavik).