Commission seeks to promote hydrogen powered vehicles
Publication date: 13 July 2006
Hydrogen vehicles offer significant environmental benefits through lower pollution and zero exhaust pipe greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission wants to encourage and speed up the introduction of such cars. As a first step, the Commission is asking for the views of stakeholders and the general public on planned new rules to ensure the safe operation of hydrogen powered vehicles. This is crucial, since hydrogen is a highly flammable substance.
The Commission draft proposal put out for consultation intends to incorporate hydrogen fuelled vehicles in the European type-approval framework, which is necessary to make sure that such vehicles can be marketed in the EU according to common standards. Stakeholders are invited to comment on the issues covered by the proposal, in particular, whether it would impose any undue burden on manufacturers or suppliers compared to the benefits in terms of safe operation of the vehicles. The closing date for comments is 15 September.
hydrogen_draft_proposal.pdf (87 KB)
Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industry policy, said: “Hydrogen propulsion will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and improve air quality in Europe. The proposed measures will facilitate the market introduction of such vehicles, thus, could entail a boost for Europe’s competitiveness and a significant improvement to the environment.”
Hydrogen can be used in mobile applications like cars, delivery vans and buses. Hydrogen is a clean energy carrier. When used either in combustion motors or in fuel-cell systems, it does not produce any carbon emissions (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, unburned hydrocarbons or particulates). Thus, using hydrogen will contribute to the improvement of air quality in cities. Moreover, no greenhouse gases are produced from motor vehicles, although care will have to be taken that the production of hydrogen itself does not lead to an increase in CO2 emissions. This can be achieved by producing hydrogen from non-fossil energy sources or by CO2 sequestration.
Major car manufacturers are making important investments in developing hydrogen propulsion technologies, and are developing plans for offering vehicles on a commercial basis.
The Commission has produced a preliminary draft proposal for a Regulation on hydrogen powered motor vehicles. The proposed Regulation aims to ensure the safe operation of hydrogen powered vehicles by incorporating them in the European vehicle type-approval framework through establishing safety requirements for the hydrogen storage system of these vehicles. The proposal will permit the approval and placing on the market of vehicles using hydrogen and will contribute to the confidence in the new technology for potential users and the public at large.
The public consultation can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/automotive/pagesbackground/hydrogen/consultation/call.htm
The Commission will publish all comments received on its website. Those wishing to comment should therefore refrain from submitting information that is considered to be confidential. If you would like to participate, please send your contribution to the following mail box: firstname.lastname@example.org