Despite significant improvements achieved over the recent years, the level of utilisation of both Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) and Hydrogen Refuelling Stations (HRS) remains well under the level currently experienced with conventional technologies.
For FCEVs, the low level of utilisation is defined in terms of limited number of vehicles being in operation in the field and of limited number of kilometres driven per year, thus limiting conditions in usage allowing for a real field experience to be gained.
For HRS, typical utilisation rates are in the range of 5 to 10% on average compared with the 90%+ level encountered in forecourts distributing more conventional fuels. Limitations in improved HRS technology reliability and operations are therefore faced.
This situation is calling for a large scale “market test” with sufficient vehicle numbers per station to generate relevant data based on demonstration of the HRS under high load conditions. Moreover, the project will target a B to B market, gaining experience in higher mileage and more bearable business case for the infrastructure operator. Building on the achievements obtained today through the launch and follow-up operations of large scale FCEVs and HRS demonstration projects , it is now necessary to revisit the conditions of such demonstrations in order to allow a pre-commercial evaluation of the FCEVs & HRS technologies.
With respect to the above, consideration to controlled fleets operators can provide such necessary conditions. Fleets of vehicle are also attracting increased attention from public authorities and private stakeholders involved in transport decarbonisation.
 Such as the FCH2 JU funded projects HyFive, H2ME and H2ME2 in Europe
This topic calls for a large scale pre-commercial demonstration project covering of FCEVs and HRSs under high utilization conditions such as those encountered by commercial fleets operators.
For vehicles, the project will consist in identifying at least two operators of commercial fleets of vehicles such as, but not limited to, taxis, light commercial vehicles parcel delivery services but also potentially new mobility services such as car sharing.
The identified fleet operators will cover the roll-out of at least 180 FCEVs in total with a minimum deployment of 60 FCEVs per site / geographical location, in at least 3 sites.
The vehicles can comprise OEM supplied passenger cars and utility vehicles (light duty vans). The FCEVs are expected to be using a fuel cell system as the key power source and 70MPa storage.
The minimum operation for vehicles is 90 000 km per vehicle within the project with annual mileages equal to the average values observed currently for the equivalent vehicles performing comparable services, running on more conventional fuels. Commercial arrangements for extending operations after the end of the project are expected to be provided.
In this topic, the focus is on demonstrating the feasibility to operate HRS under pre-commercial conditions in terms of utilization rate.
The minimum number of HRS needed to fulfil the H2 demand and the geographical coverage of the FCVs fleet operated at a given location must be considered.
The HRS must be designed to investigate the specific problems arising from the need to provide high volumes of hydrogen per day while offering satisfactory service to HRS customers in terms of refuelling duration per vehicle and availability (back to back refuelling performance).
When addressing the utility vehicle market or local fleets (as is the main intent of this topic), HRS facilities may be located on private grounds, with or without public access. The latter should be favoured, as long as several other customers are identified as long term users of the HRS. Whenever appropriate to the fleet operators, the use of existing HRS, for example HRS being deployed for FCH JU projects, must be considered subject, when required, to the implementation of upgrades designed to bring the performances of the HRS in line with the users' expectations.
The targeted operation for the HRS is at minimum 5 years (operation beyond the project life is expected and should be demonstrated in the proposal).
Safety assessment shall include the social acceptance dimension.
Measurement, monitoring and evaluation of specific vehicle and fuelling station parameters should be done using methodologies such as those used in current projects funded by the FCH JU1. The project shall prepare for the use of low-carbon hydrogen and aim to reduce the carbon intensity of the hydrogen refuelled by at least 50% on a well-to-wheel basis as compared with new gasoline and diesel vehicles. The results of the CertifHy Project should be taken into account in the analysis of the total well-to-wheel emissions.
A formal, inclusive and creative dissemination programme is required which ensures that the lessons learnt by the project are made available to wider public. In particular, it should be ensured that countries considering development of similar FCEVs/HRS roll-out initiatives should have an easy access to information generated by the consortium.
Proposal may include some provision for funding support to existing HRS upgrades (performance and availability/reliability focus)
Proposers should provide a clear evidence of:
The consortium should include vehicle fleet operators, , refuelling infrastructure providers and operators, and other actors as appropriate and relevant to the effective delivery of the programme.
The following TRLs are at least required:
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu).
The maximum FCH 2 JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 5 million per project. This is an eligibility criterion – proposals requesting FCH 2 JU contributions above this amount will not be evaluated.
A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.
Expected duration: 6 years with minimum 4 years of operation
The learning experience obtained is specifically intended to trigger further technological improvements of both stations and vehicles and to provide the necessary experience and confidence on the part of investors and policy makers in the business plans for the multi-billion euros of investments needed to establish the HRS infrastructure required for mass market roll-out.
Therefore priority will be given to proposals presenting a comprehensive programme to gather new learning from the project in terms of: customer acceptance, techniques for the operation of a station network, business models for national HRS roll-out, FCEV reliability operated at a high mileage level, technology performance (and requirements for improvement, using the HyLights methodology.
At least 80% of the vehicles to be deployed in the project should be designed to meet the requirements resulting from the severity of usage facing the fleets (e.g. availability, durability)
Technical targets for vehicles:
The funding contribution will not exceed 20 k€ per vehicle.
Assessment of progress towards overcoming the barriers to the roll-out of FCEVs (it is expected that substantial advances in comparison to the state-of-the-art to five of nine of the issues below will be proposed and trialled in the project):
Furthermore, HRS are expected to comply with the following requirements: