Deployment of Innovative Low Power Fuel Cell Vehicle Fleets to Initiate an Early Market for Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel in Europe

  • Project no.3106
  • Duration 01/2006 - 01/2011

Establishing commercially viable pioneer markets for hydrogen and fuel cell applications will be one key challenge for a transition to a hydrogen energy system. Corresponding to this requirement the HYCHAIN MINI-TRANS project will deploy several fleets of innovative fuel cell vehicles in four regions in Europe (France, Germany, Spain, Italy) operating on hydrogen as an alternative fuel. The fleets are based on similar modular technology platforms in a variety of light transport applications with the main objective to achieve a large enough volume of vehicles (up to 158) to justify an industrial approach to lower costs and overcome major cross sectional barriers. Addressing early adopters in pioneer markets, the first sustainable deployment cases for hydrogen based fuel cells in Europe will be initiated where they will have the best chances to continue and grow beyond this project.
The following four step approach will be implemented. The project will start from existing prototypes of five low power fuel cell applications that (1) are optimised in design and functionality. (2) Pre-commercial manufacturing lines will be set up to reduce costs as well as to improve quality and (3) the required hydrogen distribution logistics and services (transport, distribution, dispensing) will be established based on an even exchange of innovative refiliable storage solution. (4) A network of comparable subprojects using the common demonstration vehicles will be implemented in the four regions of Europe. The deployment will enable a large and wide variety of end users to be attained in a cost effective way, providing favourable conditions for achieving a significant reduction both in manufacturing and operating costs.

Within the international consortium of 25 partners under the overall coordination of Air Liquide S.A. the Wuppertal Institute acts as the responsible coordinator for work package 8 "Innovation Activities" that comprises the following tasks:

  • Dissemination activities distinguished between European and national/regional activities;
  • Techno-economic and environmental assessment of technologies;
  • Socio-economic studies, providing the necessary insights on how to maintain and to enlarge the use of hydrogen applications in early markets;
  • Exploitation of results. The outcome of the socio-economic study package will be used to develop strategies for further exploitation of HYCHAIN MINI-TRANS technologies, both on national and international levels.

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