Hydrogen has attracted the attention of policy makers and industrialists as a possible future energy vector, able to address at the same time environmental concerns and dependence on foreign energy sources.
The High Level Group (HLG) on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells was formally launched in Brussels on 10th October 2002 by the Vice President of the European Commission Loyola de Palacio, responsible for Energy and Transport, and Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin, with the support of President Romano Prodi. It brings together top-level stakeholders from across Europe, with the aim of formulating an integrated EU vision on the possible role that hydrogen and fuel cells could play in achieving sustainable energy. It has provided recommendations to policy makers addressing what would be required to achieve global leadership in this field in the next 20 to 30 years.
The conference presented the High Level Group's vision report, for discussion before a wide audience, and sought to validate its recommendations and proposed follow-up actions (e.g. on a Strategic Research Agenda and a Deployment Strategy). The creation of an EU Platform on Hydrogen Technology to optimise European efforts towards the realisation of the potential of hydrogen was discussed.
The conference also provided a forum for the discussion of possible initiatives on transport, energy, environment and enterprise policies to foster a hydrogen economy, to stimulate investment in knowledge and innovation in this area, and identify priority actions and initiatives for research programmes.