FCH JU at EUSEW 2018: “Hydrogen is the technology of today”

At this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week, the flagship conference for the sustainable energy community across Europe, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and FCH JU projects featured in more than half a dozen events. It’s clear that fuel cell and hydrogen technology is set to play a big part in Europe’s transition to a low carbon economy.

A clear message emerged from the FCH JU hosted session Hydrogen and Fuel Cells  greening European industry: Hydrogen and fuels cells are essential to the future of European industry. Speaking at the session, Bart Biebuyck, executive director of the FCH JU underlined the role of hydrogen in Europe’s clean energy future, through enabling renewables integration and sectoral integration. Industry remains the most difficult sector to decarbonize, but the efforts of the FCH JU and the industry grouping Hydrogen Europe, big industries are discovering the potential of hydrogen.

Biebuyck’s message was reinforced by Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Adviser to the Director General for DG Energy in the European Commission, who was also speaking at the session. Constantinescu highlighted the overall objective of EU energy policy: to achieve “secure, sustainable, competitive energy for the future”, and that in this context, “hydrogen has great potential to help decarbonize the industry sector”.

Already, this potential is being realized. One example, the FCH JU-funded project Demo4Grid, uses green hydrogen in the food industry. “Now is the time to change, from fossil to green. We are proud to be part of this change,” said consortium member Ewald Perwög, from MPREIS Warenvertriebs GmbH, presenting the benefits of hydrogen in the sector. Further testimony came from Rudolf Zauner, of Austria’s leading electricity company Verbund: “Steel production accounts for 30% of CO2 emissions globally. In the FCH JU-supported project H2FUTURE, we use green hydrogen to tackle this problem.”

A call to action came from Frithjof Kublik, Senior Consultant Business Development at Shell, who said that the role of hydrogen for storage for intermittent renewables and sector coupling needs to be further incentivized by EU funding programmes post-2020.

From the previous day’s session on Europe's vision for the energy system of the future, co-hosted by FCH JU project CertifHy, it was clear that hydrogen will play an integral part in making the vision a reality. Nigel Holmes, Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, described the findings to date of the FCH JU- supported project BIG HIT: “The future energy system will be fully integrated. Hydrogen technology will play a key role in the clean energy transition: hydrogen is the technology of today." Key messages from this EUSEW18 panel on Europe's vision for the energy system of the future: "The future is electric, but not only electric. Hydrogen from renewable energy sources will be a part of the solution. Sound business models are already being deployed to scale."

Also on 6 June, the exciting FCH JU project PACE hosted a EUSEW 2018 side event Powered by people, showing how fuel cell micro-cogeneration has the power to put citizens at the centre of the energy transition. According to Antonio Aguilo Rullan, project officer at the FCH JU, the PACE project has demonstrated that the technology is mature: there is now a solid track record showing that fuel cell technology is reliable and efficient. Overall, a rewarding week for the FCH JU, as the past decade’s work of supporting fuel cell and hydrogen technology is showing solid results, along with great future potential, across many aspects of the energy transition.


View the FCH JU session image gallery here.