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Press Releases

Fission and radiation protection

27/11/2009 - Fusion film wins the 2009 "MIDAS Prize for New Media"

The latest film made by the European fusion community, entitled "Energy of the future - Fusion 2100", won the 2009 EuroPAWS MIDAS Prize for New Media. The prize recognises the best European new media production (web, promotional video etc.) involving science and engineering/technology.

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23/03/2009 - EU and Japan agree to work more closely together in energy research

The European Commission and Japan are going to deepen their collaboration in energy research. The primal areas for cooperation are photovoltaics, power storage and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Following the experience of the new European Public-Private Partnership on fuel cells and hydrogen, both sides agreed that in the future fuel cells and hydrogen should form a further area of cooperation with an industry expert workshop to be organised jointly.

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12/03/2009 - Research provides reliable data for wind power
New technologies are needed to fully exploit the potential

To fully exploit wind energy in Europe, better data about conditions is needed. Whilst the European Commission supports research projects working on new technologies to gather excellent wind power data, necessary data is often only commercially available hampering full exploitation and scientific progress. The issue will be discussed in Marseille at the upcoming European Wind Energy Conference (EWEC: 16–19 March 2009).

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27/01/2009 - European biofuel ambitions and technology needs - European Biofuels Technology Platform highlights promising routes and discusses challenges to overcome to demonstrate innovative sustainable biofuel value chains

The Renewable Energies Directive and the updated Fuel Quality Directive recently adopted by Council and the European Parliament are setting the framework conditions and resulting challenges to be overcome by economic actors of current and future biofuel value chains. At its 2nd Stakeholder Plenary Meeting held in Brussels on 22 January 2009, the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP) brought together 200 actors from across Europe to discuss promising innovative routes that could bring significant contributions towards achieving the 2020 EU objectives for biofuels.

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28/10/2008 - Launch the European Energy Research Alliance

EU Commissioners for Research and Energy, Janez Potočnik and Andris Piebalgs welcomed today the initiative of leading research institutes in the European Union (EU) to found the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). The Alliance is going to expand and optimise EU energy research capabilities through the sharing of world-class national facilities and the joint realisation of national and European programmes. This new Research Alliance will be a key actor of the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) and will contribute to accelerate the development of new low carbon technologies for EU to move toward a low carbon economy.

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28/10/2008 - US-delegation visit improves collaboration in Energy Research

The European Commission and the United States are going to deepen their collaboration in low carbon energy technologies. The director for energy in the Directorate General for Research, Raffaele Liberali, agreed with the head of a high ranked US-delegation, Vic Der, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy at the Department of Energy to strengthen the cooperation.

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20/10/2008 - European cooperation towards the Geological Disposal of Radioactive Waste

While decisions on the use of nuclear energy are the responsibility of individual Member States, the safe management of resulting nuclear waste is a matter of concern for all European Union citizens. The Euratom Framework Programme has supported research in this field for many years and this is continuing in the current 7th Framework Programme.

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30/05/2008 - Council adopts Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative

The future of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies in Europe is on its way. The Council adopted today the regulation setting up the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. This public-private joint technology initiative (JTI) will implement the EU target-oriented research and development to support the broad market introduction of these technologies.

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25 February 2008 - European research shows that hydrogen energy could reduce oil consumption in road transport by 40% by 2050

A scientific project funded by the EU's research programme has found that introducing hydrogen into the energy system would reduce the total oil consumption by the road transport sector by 40% between now and 2050. By taking a leading position in the worldwide market for hydrogen technologies, Europe can open new economic opportunities and strengthen its competitiveness.

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22 November 2007 - European Commission proposes a plan to accelerate energy technologies for a low-carbon future

Energy technologies will be crucial to successfully fighting against climate change and securing world and European energy supply. Achieving Europe's 2020 and 2050 targets on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency will require action on energy efficiency, standards, support mechanisms and putting a price on carbon emissions.

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10 October 2007 - Commission promotes take-up of hydrogen cars and the development of hydrogen technologies

The European Commission has adopted two proposals today that will mark a step forward in the development and marketing of clean and safe hydrogen vehicles The first is the setting up of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative (JTI), an ambitious industry-led integrated programme of Research, technology development and demonstration activities. This Public-Private Partnership driven by European industry will be implemented over the next 6 years with a financial contribution from the EU of € 470 million, to be matched by the private sector. The JTI should accelerate the development of hydrogen technologies to the point of commercial take-off between 2010 and 2020. Secondly, a number of hydrogen cars are already ripe for market introduction today. Thus, the Commission proposes to simplify their approval so that they will be seen more often on Europe's streets. Both proposals will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

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The FCH joint undertaking : Summary of Impact Assessment
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21 September 2007 - New forum established for sustainable nuclear energy research

The Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform – A vision reportEnergy consumption worldwide is likely to double between 2000 and 2050, and nuclear energy will remain a key element in future low-carbon energy systems. Europe has the largest nuclear industry in the world and one third of its electricity comes from nuclear plants.

To prepare for the future and maintain European leadership in this sector, the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform is being launched in Brussels today, bringing together researchers and industry to define and implement a strategic research agenda and a corresponding deployment strategy. The technology platform will allow a new and fully integrated approach to research in Europe, its launch being very timely as the Commission prepares a Strategic Energy Technology Plan for the EU.

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Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik's speech

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs' speech

10 July 2007 - Commission adopts new guideline for coal and steel research

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Decision on the revised guidelines for spending funds on coal & steel research. The Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) has an annual budget of about €60 million for research in these two areas, financed by interest on the assets of the now expired European Coal and Steel Community Treaty. The RFCS programme is a separate, complementary programme to the Research Framework programme and covers all aspects of coal and steel, from production processes to application, looking at the utilisation and conversion of resources, safety at work and environmental protection by improving the use of coal as a clean energy source and reducing CO2 emissions from coal use and steel production.

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08 January 2007 - Europeans firmly behind research into new energy technologies

A Eurobarometer opinion survey on energy technologies published today by the European Commission shows that 60% of EU citizens think that energy research should be a priority for the European Union. The report also shows that Europeans are highly positive about renewable energies. In the future Europeans expect the use of fossil fuels to drop, to be replaced by renewable energy. The Commission has also published a scientific report which looks at energy consumption up to 2050. It examines several future scenarios, including a strong carbon constraint regime and development of hydrogen as an energy carrier. Both scenarios, which show a rising role for renewable and nuclear energy in Europe's future, rely on advances in technologies such as carbon capture & storage, low energy buildings, low emission cars and hydrogen production from renewable and nuclear sources.

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06 April 2006 - Commission encourages research co-operation for electricity grids

Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik

21% of Europe’s energy could be produced by renewable sources, but existing electricity grids are not keeping pace with changes within the energy industry. Future trans-European grids will have to provide all consumers with a highly reliable cost-effective power supply, which make the best possible use of both large centralised generators and smaller distributed power sources throughout Europe. To confront this challenge, the European Technology Platform “SmartGrids” met in Brussels to agree its objectives and strategies for the development of electricity networks of the future that respond to the needs of industry and consumers.

“Europe’s electricity markets and networks lie at the heart of our energy system, and must evolve to meet the new challenges” said Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research, who attended the meeting. “This Technology platform brings together industry, transmission and distribution system operators, research bodies and regulators to make sure that research is connected properly to the needs of the industry and its consumers.”

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14 March 2006 - The world’s largest CO2 capture pilot plant inaugurated in Denmark

The world’s largest CO2 capture pilot 
        plant inaugurated in Denmark

Carbon capture and storage works by capturing carbon dioxide emissions as they are produced by power stations and then storing them underground, so that they cannot interact with the atmosphere and produce the greenhouse effect. They are best applied to large facilities such as coal power plants and oil refineries. The CASTOR project, funded from the Sixth Framework Programme for Research, unveiled the first pilot plant to test how these technologies work in practice. It is hoped that this demonstration project will allow scientists to improve the technological processes involved in carbon capture, provide a means for better understanding of the process among the public and consolidate Europe’s position as a leader in this scientific field.

While the plant at Elsam will is the first such pilot, the field of carbon capture and storage is a long-term priority for the European Commission and the sector as a whole. Last December saw the launch of a European Technology Platform on Zero Emissions Fossil Fuel Power Plants, which brings together all those with an interest in the development of this technology, from across industry and including environmental groups, to establish a strategic research agenda.

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01 March 2006 - Nuclear Energy in Europe: Current research, future potential

Nuclear Energy in Europe: Current research, future potential
The current ‘state-of-the-art’ in Nuclear Energy, its future development and sustainability will be discussed by nuclear experts from across Europe at the FISA 2006 conference in Luxembourg from March 13-16. The full range of current European nuclear engineering research will be presented and its future direction discussed. Conference sessions will include research on safety of existing nuclear power plants, innovative new designs, nuclear fuel cycles that minimize waste issues and the infrastructure needed to attract students to nuclear engineering to ensure skills are retained in Europe. Workshop sessions will look forward to the next Euratom research programme.

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07 December 2005 - Renewable energy: European Commission proposes ambitious biomass action plan and calls on Member States to do more for green electricity

European Commission proposes ambitious biomass and biofuels action plan and calls on Member States to do more for green electricity
The Commission adopted a detailed action plan designed to increase the use of energy from forestry, agriculture and waste materials. Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for Energy, said, “This plan will reduce Europe’s dependence on imported energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, protect jobs in rural areas and extend the EU’s technological leadership in these sectors.

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21 November 2005 - Green energy sector comes together to examine its research agenda

Poster "Renewable Energy for Europe"
The EU will invest €440 million of research money in advancing these technologies between 2002 and 2006. The objective is that by 2010 at least 12% of the EU’s overall energy consumption should come from renewable sources for both environmental and supply security reasons. Research is fundamental to achieving this goal, showing the close link between energy, research and environmental policies.

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More EU supported projects in the Green Energy Sector


18 November 2005 - ‘ITER the way to fusion energy’ has been awarded “best stand” at the CER (Communicating European Research) conference

Stand CER Fusion
14/15 November 2005 saw the second Communicating European Research conference, which was held at the Heysel Exhibition Centre in Brussels. Over 2500 scientists, media professionals and policy-makers came together for two days of debates, forums, training sessions and discussion groups on how better to communicate in the area of science and technology.

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04 October 2005 - Preparing the future - Commission publishes call for ‘Euratom Fusion Training Scheme’

The European Commission has published a call for proposals for the ‘Euratom Fusion Training Scheme’ – a new training scheme aimed at giving an extra boost to European fusion energy research, particularly in light of the imminent construction of the first international large-scale fusion experiment - ITER – in Cadarache, France.

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5 September 2005 - Janez POTOČNIK: Nuclear Energy for a New Europe 2005 - speech delivered at the International Conference of Bled (Slovenia)

European commissioner for research, Janez Potočnik
In his conference speech, EU Commissioner for Research Janez Potocnik stressed the important role that research must play in responding to the EU's energy challenges. A broad mix of energy options needs to be supported if the EU is to address effectively issues such as security of supply, sustainability, climate change, industrial competitiveness and well-being of EU citizens. Nuclear fission, as the most significant source of base-load and carbon-free energy available today, can play an important role in this mix. Under the Euratom Framework Programme, research is being supported on both fusion energy and nuclear fission, including aspects such as radioactive waste management, nuclear safety and innovative reactor concepts. This research, along with non-nuclear research on renewable and clean energy technologies, must continue if Member States and policy makers alike are to be in a position to take informed decisions on energy-related issues. Research under FP7 will play a crucial role in furthering knowledge and cooperation in all these domains.

Read the complete text of the speech  

>> More information on the Conference

04 July 2005 - Commissioner Potočnik visits Cadarache, future site of ITER

European commissioner for research, Janez Potočnik with director of the department for fusion research Michel Chatelier, 3 July 2005 at the experimental nuclear fusion reactor Tore Supra, in Saint-Paul-les-Durance © AFP
European commissioner for research, Janez Potočnik with director of the department for fusion research Michel Chatelier, 3 July 2005 at the experimental nuclear fusion reactor Tore Supra, in Saint-Paul-les-Durance
European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik visited this Sunday the site in France that was earlier this week chosen to host the international fusion research facility ITER. In the company of representatives of the French government and the European fusion research community, he saluted the co-operation among all European players in fusion that had made it possible to achieve this positive outcome.

Read the complete press release

>> More information on ITER
>> More information on ITER Cadarache



28 June 2005 - ITER in Cadarache: The biggest success of European research effort on Fusion


Today in Moscow the Six Parties participating in the ITER project decided to build this project in Cadarache in Southern France. This agreement heralds the end of a deadlock between two alternative sites for the reactor and is an important milestone in the move towards establishing fusion as a sustainable source of energy production. This background note aims to answer major questions on the agreement reached today, and the project in general.

The agreement was signed by Guamhua Xu (Chinese Science and Technology Minister), Janez Potočnik (EU Science and Research Commissioner), Alexander Rumyanysev (Russian chief of the Agency for Nuclear Power), Niraiki Nakayama (Japanese Science Minister), Seok−Sik Choi (Korean Deputy Science Minister) and Raymond Orbach (US Energy Office Director).

Read the complete press release 

16 November 2004 - Sun and Earth as energy sources: European research on photovoltaics and biomass

Monocrystalline Si - Sol-300 project, Denmark. Source: IEA-PVPS
Monocrystalline Si - Sol-300 project, Denmark. Source: IEA-PVPS
Today, a press briefing organised by the European Commission in Uppsala, Sweden, will provide insights into research breakthroughs in photovoltaic and bio-energy technologies. Rising oil prices, environmental challenges and legislative changes have created an urgent need to develop renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuels. Biomass from wood, agricultural residues and organic waste are the only renewable energy sources able to provide liquid fuels for transport on a large scale. Photovoltaic solar energy panels can be integrated into roofs and buildings to cover, in the long term, as much as 10%-60% of electricity demand in countries like Germany, Spain, Italy, UK, The Netherlands or Sweden.

Read the complete press release

More information:

16 November 2004 - European Commission presents blueprint for the final sprint in ITER negotiations

ITER: a global project
ITER: a global project
Today at its meeting in Strasbourg (France) the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Council decision on the international negotiations for ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). The Commission has proposed changes to its negotiating mandate to help reach consensus in the negotiations with all six parties (EU, Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the USA) to jointly build ITER at the European candidate site of Cadarache (France). Subject to the Council’s decision of 26 November, the Commission will endeavour to bring negotiations to a successful conclusion with all parties as soon as possible. A central feature of a consensus could be a “genuine partnership” between the EU and Japan. Japan could receive favourable conditions to reflect its special contribution to the ITER project. Furthermore, the EU could contribute to other fusion research initiatives carried out in Japan to complement the ITER project as part of a “broader approach” to mastering fusion energy.

Read the complete press release 

18 March 2004 - Hydrogen economy: new EU hydrogen and fuel cell Quick Start initiative

European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented today current and future key EU initiatives for a transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to a hydrogen-based one at a "Fuels for a future generation" conference held in Brussels. Some €100 million of EU funding, matched by an equivalent amount of private investment, is currently being awarded to research and demonstration projects for hydrogen and fuel cell after the first call for proposals of the 6th EU Research Framework Programme (FP6 2002-2006). This will be reinforced via further calls for R&D proposals worth a public and private investment of €300 million (EU funding €150 million). These projects represent the initial phase and form a basis for the large scale "Quick Start" initiative for hydrogen production and use, which is being launched jointly by Vice-President Loyola de Palacio and Commissioner Busquin. The "European Growth Initiative" earmarks an indicative €2.8 bn public and private funding for these partnerships over the next ten years. The Commission is thus helping to implement the ambitious vision of the European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform, which held its first general assembly on 20 January 2004, under the aegis of Commission President Romano Prodi, and is now developing coherent European research and deployment strategies.|0|RAPID&lg=EN

16 March 2004 - EC Media Briefing on New Energies : Solar, Wave and Geothermal Energy - Almeira, 16 March 2004

Europe at the forefront in research on solar, wave and geothermal energies
Today at the "Solar platform" test site in Almeria (Spain) the European Commission presented the state of play on its research programmes in alternative energy sources, including solar thermal, wave and geothermal energy. World energy consumption will double over the next 50 years, with Europe currently depending heavily on foreign energy sources. Currently, 41% of EU energy consumption is based on oil, followed by gas (23%), coal (15%), nuclear (15%) and only 6% is based on renewable energies. The threat of global climate change and the warnings about energy security will force Europe to drastically change and diversify its sources of supply, relying more and more on renewable energy. The EU has set out a strategy to double the share of renewable energy, from the present 6% to 12% by 2010. Within its 6th Research Framework Programme (FP6 2003-2006) the EU will devote +/- 810 million to renewable energy sources. The projects showcased today include "Sol Air" using solar thermal, "Wave Dragon" using wave energy, and "European Hot Dry Rock" using geothermal energy.
Read the complete press release

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20 January 2004 - A strong European technology partnership to move towards the hydrogen economy

Logo H2
European Commission President, Romano Prodi, today launched the "European Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology" Platform, whose Advisory Council includes key players of the European hydrogen sector, at its first assembly in Brussels. The Platform has the task of drafting a blueprint to smooth the EU's transition from a fossil fuel-based to a hydrogen-based economy. The creation of this platform follows the presentation of a report by an EU high-level expert group on June 16, 2003, and the inclusion of a hydrogen and fuel cell initiative in the "QuickStart" list of transport and research projects. This list was presented by the Commission on November 11, 2003, in the framework of the "European Growth Initiative". Developing the new hydrogen society while gaining worldwide leadership will require a coherent EU strategy, which this European Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technology Platform will help devise.
Read the complete press release

4 December 2003 - Solar energy: Europe aims to lead the world in Photovoltaic technologies

The recently created “Photovoltaics Technology Research Advisory Council” will meet for the first time today in Brussels. The initiative of Loyola de Palacio, European Commission Vice President in charge of Energy and Transport, and of European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, involves 18 members representing all the major players in this technology. Europe is now the world's second largest manufacturer of photovoltaics, accounting for more than 24% of overall production, behind Japan (44%) and ahead of the USA (22%). Current forecasts show large potential for solar electricity production, for which Europe has seen an average growth rate of 30% per year over the last decade. Nevertheless, photovoltaics are currently under-utilised in the European Union, despite the active support of the Commission for research, development and demonstration projects in this area, with over €200 million of funding for almost 200 projects over the last 10 years. To find the best way forward, the Advisory Council's objective is to develop a Foresight Report and a Strategic Research Agenda, in order to address the remaining barriers to maximising the potential of this clean energy source.
Read the complete press release and see also the compilation of synopses [pdf 4.4 Mb] which covers research and demonstration projects in the area of photovoltaics as well as supporting actions related to the candidate countries, networks, pre-normative research and studies.

26 November 2003 - The Commission welcomes the Council's ITER agreement

ITER thermonuclear fusion reactor © © CEA/EISS
ITER thermonuclear fusion reactor

European Commissioner for Research Philippe Busquin welcomed the unanimous agreement obtained in the Council of Ministers today on the EU's application to site the ITER thermonuclear fusion reactor project at Cadarache (France). The Commission will now put the EU's application to the international partners in the ITER project for an international decision to be reached before the end of the year.
Visit also the website "Cadarache - a European site for ITER"

22 September 2003 - EU networks contribute to European nuclear plant safety

As Europe's 150 nuclear power reactors grow older, maintaining high safety levels is a key issue for industry and policymakers. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has led ten years of network collaboration between key European players in R&D (R&D) on ageing nuclear power plant safety. The Commission co-ordinates major networks on the ageing of materials in nuclear power plants (AMES), on inspection and qualification (ENIQ), for evaluating structural integrity of components (NESC) and on application of neutron diffraction techniques (NET), and on safety of Eastern European type nuclear facilities (SENUF). These are part of the JRC's SAFELIFE project on the safety of ageing nuclear power plants. These initiatives address issues such as stepping up safety of Soviet-era nuclear reactors in Eastern Europe, checking the capacity of ageing nuclear facilities to withstand accidents, and preventing cracks and leaks.
Read the complete press release

10 September 2003 - EU roadmap towards a European Partnership for a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy

Hydrogen powered clever building operated by ABB in Stockholm

 Commission President Romano Prodi, Vice President Loyola de Palacio and Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin presented today a Communication on actions towards the launch of a European Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Technology Partnership, steered by an Advisory Council, that will devise a Hydrogen Research Strategic Agenda. The Partnership will include all major hydrogen stakeholders, private and public, at EU level. The Commission will also fund hydrogen development and deployment research projects. It will foster joint public-private initiatives to promote commercialisation and business development. It will ensure a consistent policy framework, identify a realistic deployment strategy, boost international co-operation in this field, and promote education, training, information and dissemination of results in the hydrogen R&D area. The timetable, the definition of the structure, the terms of reference of the Advisory Council and invitation to note interest for participation in the Advisory Council will be ready as early as October 2003.
Read the press release

25 June 2003 - The EU joins forces with international partners on research to 'clean up' fossil fuels

Loyola de Palacio and Spencer Abraham (US Secretary of Energy)
The European Commission, represented by Loyola de Palacio, Vice President in charge of Energy and Transport, signed in Washington an international charter on CO2 capture and storage (CO2/carbon storage). This will create the “Carbon storage Leadership Forum” that aims to stimulate research into carbon storage technologies, to “clean up” fossil fuels by capturing CO2 at source and storing it for thousands of years deep underground. Speaking from Brussels, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin stressed that EU research leads in this field: “We will now intensify our efforts by supporting ambitious research projects, totaling some €200 million, to address scientific, technological and other barriers to carbon storage. The main goal is to check if carbon storage in geological formations is environmentally sound and cost effective. This research could also have an important impact in the field of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, facilitating the clean production of hydrogen from fossil fuels. We look forward to working with other international partners to develop this promising technology.”
Read the press release

16 June 2003 - EU unveils vision for the energy source of the 21st century: hydrogen and fuel cell technology

European Commission conference room

Could most people in Europe be driving cars fuelled by hydrogen in just a few decades time? Does hydrogen represent the new frontier of global energy and transport? The report on "Hydrogen and fuel cells a vision for our future" presented by the high-level expert group to the European Commission and to 450 delegates including relevant policy and decision-makers, as well as industry and academia, sets out scenarios for the widespread use of this clean technology of the future.
The press release

16 June 2003 - Fuel cells agreement: EU and US forge links to provide sustainable energy sources for the future

European Commission conference room
The agreement brokered by European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin and the US Secretary of Energy, Mr. Spencer Abraham, aims to strengthen research links, by bringing together EU and US researchers from both the public and private sectors. The co-operation between the EC and US is based on the general Scientific and Technical (S&T) co-operation agreement signed on December 5, 1997, that was completed by an Implementing Agreement specific to non-nuclear energy signed on 14 May 2001. In this framework, the current specific focus on fuel cell work is an amendment to the Implementing Agreement.
More information about the agreement