The Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have overwhelmingly voted to accelerate the growth of the hydrogen highway network in the EU. With 644 positive votes, 2 negative and 11 abstaining, MEPs has decided to go forward with hydrogen autos, vehicles and infrastructure as an alternative to high oil prices and environmental concerns.
A couple of the reasons stated for developing the EU hydrogen highway network is to ensure that there are not a hodgepodge of technical and safety standards, from country to country, in regard to both hydrogen autos and refueling stations. A “one-market” approach is being adopted so that consumers will have continuity in vehicles and fueling infrastructure when traveling about the EU.
The hope is to one day be able to link the infrastructure of Iceland, the United Kingdom, the Norway Hynor Project ( Sweden) to that of the mainland European Nations. According to the Worldwide Hydrogen Fueling Stations chart, the breakdown of current mainland EU refueling infrastructure is as follows:
• Austria 2
• Denmark 6
• France 5
• Germany 26
• Italy 5
• Spain 2
• The Netherlands 2
The totals rival the number of H2 refueling stations of the United States (60) across a much smaller area, (excluding Iceland). The adopting of standards will insure the range of the vehicles is sufficient, the fueling stations have adequate fuel (compressed 5,000 psi, 10,000 psi or liquid H2) and that hydrogen autos are clearly marked as such for emergency personnel responding to accidents.
The U. S. could take a page out of the playbook in regard to what MEPs is now doing and be a leader rather than a follower in building a nationwide hydrogen highway system. But, the one question is will there be political will to do so?