At a packed, standing room only, Parliamentary event last week, the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UK HFCA), MPs and key stakeholders received evidence of the considerable pace of implementation of hydrogen and fuel cell applications in Germany and the wider experience of development and deployment across Europe. They also explored prospects for more rapid hydrogen and fuel cells realisation in the UK. The event was hosted by the UK HFCA in collaboration with the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG) and All Party Parliamentary Group on Intelligent Energy (APPGIE). The networking drinks reception was kindly sponsored by the European Hydrogen Association (EHA).

Updates on progress and activities across Europe and within Germany were provided by Bert de Colvenaer (Executive Director, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) and Hanno Butsch (Manager International Cooperation, NOW GmbH National Organization Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology). Both highlighted the benefits of sustained and focused industry and government support in bringing the sector to near commercialisation in many key markets. During the subsequent debate, the UK Government’s recognition of market barriers in other sectors was highlighted and the absence of a coherent recognition of the benefits and advantages rendered by hydrogen and fuel cell applications was noted. Panellists agreed on the need for a level playing field, for hydrogen to be acknowledged as an energy vector, and for policy that will stimulate growth equally in all hydrogen and fuel cell markets.

The panellists emphasised that:

Bert de Colvenaer, FCH JU: “Hydrogen and fuel cells have been making impressive progress throughout Europe in recent years which shows now clearly the huge potential of the sector.  With these examples, the European and national policy makers can substantially help by providing the necessary tools to stimulate further public and private investment towards an accelerated commercialisation.”

Dennis Hayter, Chair of the UK HFCA: “The UK hydrogen and fuel cell industry has grown significantly over the past few years in direct employment and supply chain growth. Our members are already helping to deliver the UK’s ambitious carbon reduction targets and simultaneously stimulating economic growth and generating green jobs. Appropriate Government support will propel the industry to achieving faster carbon reduction, energy efficiency, technology innovation and employment impact

Ian Williamson, President of the EHA: “If we look at the UK government support both in a European and global context we see positive support for automotive but opportunities to incentivise the take up of stationary systems have been missed and the UK now lags behind most other leading technology based economies.”

Parliamentary event highlights need for ‘level playing field’ for hydrogen and fuel cells