International Initiative Works toward Hydrogen Economy

The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), which has made progress since it was launched in 2003 with member countries defining technical challenges and funding collaborative projects, is designed to accelerate development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to power vehicles, residences and businesses without producing greenhouse gases.

International workshops held in 2005 helped member countries understand the scope of the technical challenges, such as developing two types of fuel cells and developing codes and standards associated with hydrogen production, storage and distribution, according to U.S. Energy Department (DOE) official Graham Pugh, a senior advisor in DOE’s office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). Pugh is also the executive director of the IPHE secretariat. Building on its members’ expertise, the IPHE coordinates efficient and cost-effective research, development and the demonstration of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to support their adoption and commercialization. The European Commission and 16 countries — Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States — are members of the IPHE. In the future, Pugh said the partnership plans to determine and address research gaps with the IPHE making progress by endorsing international projects funded by at least two members. The first 10 projects, approved at an IPHE meeting in Kyoto in September 2005, include fuel cell development, hydrogen production using solar energy, hydrogen safety and clean urban transport. At its recent meeting in Vancouver, the IPHE focused on different policy frameworks, regional differences and barriers to implementation, Pugh said. Once the technical barriers are overcome, a new focus will help countries make informed decisions based on best practices to encourage development of the hydrogen economy by the private sector, he said.
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