The Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Observatory

The go-to resource for all things fuel cells & hydrogen

Where do you go to, to get curated facts on all things related to fuel cells and hydrogen? You could spend several hours searching project information or browsing company sites, digging around to find anything useful, or you could go straight to the fuel cells and hydrogen observatory (FCHO), a portal launched in September 2020 as the go-to resource for anyone wanting to find statistics, data and information about the sector. The Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking awarded the contract for the development and operation of the online portal and information source to the energy transition and strategy consultants, E4tech who worked with a team of industry actors to deliver this resource.

E4tech project managed the delivery and continues to manage operation of the portal, working with seven expert organisations to source and validate the datasets which hold a wealth of information on all aspects of sector and market development. With IT solutions provider Incyom, an innovative user experience was designed to present information in clear, objective and user-friendly formats. Up to date data is essential to providing information for decision making, which is the foundation of success of the observatory and its users. Datasets are therefore continually being researched, consolidated and validated by subject matter experts, using only data that is owned or primary sourced, to ensure that it is current and reliable.

The main part of the FCHO is structured along a series of chapters. The technology and market chapter enables users to view and analyse the numbers of fuel cell shipments per year across geographies and application areas. The observatory has links to the Hydrogen Availability System to enable displaying the availability and number of hydrogen refuelling stations in Europe, as well as links to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO) to display information on fuel cell electric vehicle deployments. There is also a section on the supply and demand landscape for industrial hydrogen which will form the baseline for monitoring the transition to green hydrogen.

Organisations involved: Hydrogen Europe, Inycom, NEN, Hydrogen Europe Research, Concepto, Innovation Loop, HGF

Chapters on patents and publications tracks the trends in both these activities going back to 2014, providing an indicator of the evolution of research and development in the sector. The chapter on policies provides users with up to date information on EU policies and how they apply to fuel cells and hydrogen. National policies are also depicted, using a database which identifies those policies that promote or hinder the development of the market for hydrogen and fuel cells. This national policy database has been assembled using the FCHO’s network of national correspondents who keep the data within this evolving landscape current.

An extensive database of regulations, codes and standards has also been constructed and users of the FCHO are able to search for current standards or those in planning, relevant to their particular areas of interest.

The financial support chapter allows searching for current funding mechanisms relevant to a particular project idea or theme. The resource is kept up to date by accessing an artificial intelligence (AI) search mechanism which scours live funding streams for compatibility with input criteria.

The latest chapter to be launched is on Education and Training Chapter which went live on 24th November 2020, during Hydrogen Week. Here users can find information on courses related to hydrogen and fuel cells in institutions across Europe. The chapter also provides a signposting function to point to relevant and interesting materials on the topic. At the launch event, Diana Raine, E4tech managing consultant and FCHO project manager, called upon stakeholders to get involved and support the efforts of the FCHO.

… Read more in the latest H2-International e-Journal, Feb. 2021

Author: Diana Raine, E4tech, London

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