The European Commission launched last October this new High Level Group comprising senior representatives from major EU automotive and energy companies, public utilities, research institutes, transport companies and policy makers.
The Group will assess the potential benefits of using hydrogen and fuel cells in EU transport and energy productions, and pave the way for more focused EU actions in this field.
A first report, expected by mid-2003, will include a hydrogen and fuel cell research and deployment, and commercialisation actions.
Fuel cells can contribute significantly to the objective of the EU to replace 20% of automotive fuel with alternative fuels by 2020, and thus meet the Kyoto objectives.
The European fuel cell vehicle market should reach â‚¬ 16bn by 2020, and â‚¬ 52bn by 2040. The USA and Japan are world leaders in fuel cell research. Total European public funding is estimated at â‚¬ 50m per year, that is to say only one third of US funding on the same issue.