The Commission is financing several research project aimed at developing fuel cell transport systems.
During Mobility Week Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented a prototype fuel cell bus. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and emit only water vapor and heat. The EU is funding several research projects aimed at speeding up the development of cleaner public transport systems using this fuel cell technology.
The EU has committed 18.5 million euro to the CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) demonstration project, which will support 9 European cities in introducing hydrogen into their public transport system : Amsterdam (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain), Hamburg (Germany), London (United Kingdom), Luxembourg, Madrid (Spain), Porto (Portugal), Stockholm (Sweden) and Stuttgart (Germany).
Another project ECTOS (Ecological City Transport System), launched in March 2001, receives 2.85 Million euro (i.e. 40% of the total cost). ECTOS addresses some of the most important issues of hydrogen transport: hydrogen production (including from renewable energy sources), safety aspects of hydrogen refilling in city centres, and commercial operation of the buses in public transport systems. ECTOS also includes an environmental and social impact assessment study.
Several carmakers are experimenting with fuel-cell-powered vehicles.