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:: 12 the future of Energy
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell - A Vision for our Future
12 the future of Energy    9/23/2003 10:43:23 AM

Summary Report, June 2003

Background to this document
Hydrogen and fuel cells are seen by many as key solutions for the 21 st century, enabling clean efficient production of power and heat from a range of primary energy sources. The High Level Group for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells was initiated in October 2002 by the Vice President of the European Commission, Loyola de Palacio, Commissioner for Energy and Transport, and Mr Philippe Busquin, Commissioner for Research. The group was invited to formulate a collective vision on the contribution that hydrogen and fuel cells could make to the realisation of sustainable energy systems in future.

This summary report has been produced as a communication to the conference “The hydrogen economy – A bridge to sustainable energy” to be held in Brussels on 16-17 th June 2003. The terms of reference for the group requested the preparation of a vision report outlining the research, deployment and non-technical actions that would be necessary to move from today’s fossil-based energy economy to a future sustainable hydrogen-oriented economy with fuel cell energy converters.

The High Level Group, whose members are listed in Annex I, comprises 19 stakeholders representing the research community, industry, public authorities and end-users. The Group was requested to give a stakeholder, not a company view. The report was compiled with the assistance of the High Level Group Members’ “sherpas”, and technical writers, who are listed in Annex II.

The report aims to capture a collective vision and agreed recommendations. Whilst members of the group subscribe to the collective view represented in the report, their personal view on detail aspects of the report may differ.



The Energy Challenge
Worldwide demand for energy is growing at an alarming rate. The European “World Energy Technology and Climate Policy Outlook” (WETO) predicts an average growth rate of 1.8 % per annum for the period 2000-2030 for primary energy worldwide. The increased demand is being met largely by reserves of fossil fuel that emit both greenhouse gasses and other pollutants. Those reserves are diminishing and they will become increasingly expensive. Currently, the level of CO2 emissions per capita for developing nations is 20% of that for the major industrial nations. As developing nations industrialise, this will increase substantially. By 2030 CO2 emissions from developing nations could account for more than half the world CO2 emissions. Industrialised countries should lead the development of new energy systems to offset this.

Energy security is a major issue. Fossil fuel, particularly crude oil, is confined to a few areas of the world and continuity of supply is governed by political, economic and ecological factors. These factors conspire to force volatile, often high fuel prices, while at the same time, environmental policy is demanding a reduction in greenhouse gasses and toxic emissions.

A coherent energy strategy is required, addressing both energy supply and demand, taking account of the whole energy lifecycle including fuel production, transmission and distribution, and energy conversion and the impact on energy equipment manufacturers and the end users of energy systems. In the short term, the aim should be to achieve higher energy efficiency and increased supply from European energy sources, in particular renewables. In the long term a hydrogen-based economy will have an impact on all these sectors. In view of technological developments, vehicle and component manufacturers, transport providers, the energy industry, and even householders are seriously looking at alternative energy sources and fuels and more efficient and cleaner technologies - especially hydrogen and hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

In this document, the High Level Group highlights the potential of hydrogen-based energy systems globally, and for Europe in particular, in the context of a broad energy and environment strategy. It then proposes research structures and actions needed for their development and market deployment.

The full report can be downloaded as a *pdf file: click here

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