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News article24 November 2023Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking

Clean Hydrogen Partnership Awards 2023 celebrate excellence and innovation

This sixth edition of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership Awards, presented in Brussels on Wednesday, 22 November 2023, celebrates how European research and innovation continue to drive the clean energy revolution further and higher.

awards 2023 general

This year’s awards categories recognise the Best Innovation, Best Success Story, Best Project Outreach and the best European H2 Valleys of the Year. 

The awards applaud the vision and drive of the pioneers in hydrogen technology: the policymakers, researchers and leaders of industry.

Best Innovation Award: emission-free aviation 

The winner, HEAVEN, represents the first application of liquid hydrogen storage technology in aviation. The innovation was integrated with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system in a light demonstrator aircraft that seats up to four people. 

awards 2023 general

The award was handed over to numerous representatives of the project consortium by Dr Bernd Biervert, Head of Clean Energy Transition Unit in DG Research & Innovation.

Rosalinde van der Vlies, Clean Planet Director, DG RTD, European Commission said:

“The HEAVEN project shows what European innovators can achieve by joining their forces. I wish to congratulate the winning team for their outstanding achievement. Their solutions will bring us a step closer to a resilient and sustainable energy system in which renewable hydrogen plays a leading role.”

Project coordinator María Sol Rau said that receiving the award underlines the importance of hydrogen fuel cell technology for making sustainable, emission-free aviation a reality. 

“We are proud of this remarkable team effort within the consortium and grateful for the support of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. Together, we are shaping the future of sustainable aviation,” she added.

On 7 September, the project consortium successfully completed the world’s first piloted flight of an electric aircraft powered by liquid hydrogen. The HY4 took off from Maribor airport, Slovenia. Of the four test flights conducted on the day, one lasted over three hours.

The results indicate that using liquid, instead of gaseous hydrogen, doubles the range of the HY4 aircraft from 750 km to 1 500 km. This is a critical step towards development of emissions-free, medium- and long-haul commercial flights.

Best Success Story Award: clean power for heavy duty applications

The winner, StasHH, is helping to meet the growing demand for zero-emission heavy-duty transport through the standardisation of heavy-duty fuel cell modules. 

awards 2023 stashh

Melissa Verykios, chair of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership governing board, presented the award. 

“Standardisation of heavy-duty fuel cell modules is key to achieving economies of scale, lower costs and to accelerating deployment,” said Federico Zenith, consortium coordinator with research organisation SINTEF.

He further added, “The StasHH project has proposed an industry standard for module size, interfaces and communication, with the direct involvement of leading fuel-cell system and original equipment manufacturers from the maritime, rail, road and off-road sectors.”

The standard is intended for European trucks, but can be transferred to all heavy-duty applications, both on land and sea.

StasHH has attracted significant attention and many vehicle manufacturers have asked to be involved. The project has established an advisory board that includes several multinational companies and is in contact with all other companies interested in the standard.

Best Outreach Award: clean public transport  

The award recognises project consortia that communicate their work to the public using a creative, well-planned campaign.

The award winner, JIVE 2 and its predecessor JIVE, are Europe’s largest fuel cell bus deployment initiative to date. They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to increasing awareness of the technology, deploying buses and infrastructure across Europe, and making them commercially viable for bus operators to include in their fleets without subsidies. 

awards 2023 jive

Mirela Atanasiu, Clean Hydrogen Partnership’s Executive Director a.i., praised the project for its outstanding communication efforts: "With your activities, especially the Road Show in Central and Eastern Europe you reached an enormous number of citizens and generated huge interest by local governments to commit to deploy fuel cell buses. I warmly congratulate you on this achievement and believe that this will contribute to positioning the EU as a front-runner in the clean transportation revolution."

“The award recognises the communication and dissemination successes of the JIVE projects, which delivered two hydrogen bus roadshows across nine Eastern European countries between late 2022 and 2023 and a major international conference in 2023. The JIVE projects’ tireless dedication to outreach is playing a major role in advancing the collective understanding of hydrogen technology in mobility applications.” said: Michael Dolman, Project Coordinator of JIVE 2. 

The fifth edition of the Zero Emission Bus conference in October 2023 also played a pivotal role in this recognition. One-fifth of the conference speakers represented JIVE project partners. The event served as a significant platform for sharing insights and experiences in transitioning Europe’s bus and coach fleets to zero emission. 

JIVE 2 has the goal of running 152 fuel cell buses in 14 cities in France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, and achieving a maximum price of EUR 625 000 for a standard fuel cell bus.

European H2 Valley of the Year 

Three hydrogen valley projects received this year’s award for their outstanding efforts to develop integrated systems of hydrogen production, supply, storage and use in multiple sectors: Hydrogen Hub Noord-Holland, WIVA P&G in Austria, and Green Hysland on Mallorca, Spain.

awards 2023 valleys

Rosalinde van der Vlies, who leads the Clean Planet unit in DG RTD, stating that: “Hydrogen valleys are the stepping-stones in the development of a hydrogen economy. The three winners (GreenHysland, Hydrogen Hub Noord-Holland, WIVA P&G) which have been selected as ‘European H2 Valley of the Year’, are great examples of how Europe is a leader in renewable hydrogen. The experience from these award-winning projects will be important to bringing us closer to a sustainable, integrated and interconnected hydrogen ecosystem across Europe.”

The province of Noord (North) Holland has initiatives for producing and using hydrogen in steelmaking, manufacturing, synthetic fuels, mobility and agriculture.

Rosan Kocken, regional minister of the Province of North Holland said: “This award is a great recognition, and it is important now to speed up and address preconditions to realise the intended projects, to accelerate the sustainability of the region.”

The region has excellent infrastructure that supports a clean energy transition: the seaports of IJmuiden, Amsterdam and Den Helder, Schiphol Airport, along with waterways, railways and pipelines. It is home to Europe's largest hydrogen research facility, the TNO Faraday laboratory. Other facilities working on renewable energy include Techport in IJmond, Investa in Alkmaar, the Science Park and the Energy Transition Campus, both in Amsterdam.

Austrian research association WIVA P&G funds the development of hydrogen and biogas-based technologies with projects in green energy, mobility and industry that span sectors and disciplines.
Chairman and director Horst Steinmüller said: “The goal of WIVA P&G is driving the transition to a sustainable energy system with hydrogen as one solution along the whole value chain.”

Green Hysland aims to become Europe’s first hydrogen island and a blueprint for other areas in Europe. Its consortium of 30 partners from 11 countries is producing green hydrogen from solar energy.

“Together we are shaping a sustainable future, harnessing the power of clean hydrogen to propel us towards a greener and more resilient Europe,” said project coordinator Victor Encinas Sanchez.

“Thank you to the Clean Hydrogen Partnership for recognising our joint commitment to innovation and sustainability. Without the funding of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, this would not have happened,” he added.

The project’s pilot sites are a green hydrogen plant in Lloseta; a pressure-reducing station to inject hydrogen into the local gas grid; three fuel cell systems to provide heat and power to a sports centre in Lloseta, a hotel, and a ferry terminal in Palma; fuel-cell buses and a hydrogen refuelling station, along with distribution infrastructure. 

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership selected the finalists for the best innovation, with the help of the European Commission’s EU Innovation Radar Platform, and success story awards.  The public then voted for the winners. The Clean Hydrogen Partnership selected the winning outreach and hydrogen valley projects, the latter with the help of the contractor running the Mission Innovation H2 Valleys platform

In addition, five young researchers belonging to Hydrogen Europe Research’s member organisations have been awarded the Young Scientist Award.

The Young Scientist Award is an annual competition organised by Hydrogen Europe Research and conducted during the Hydrogen Week highlighting the work of students, PhDs, postdocs and young researchers, and encourage their involvement in Clean Hydrogen Partnership projects. 

This year, the application revolved around four pillars, reflecting the structure of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. One young scientist was awarded in each pillar, and one was elected “Best Researcher of the Year”:

Hydrogen production: Drialys CARDENAS MORCOSO
Hydrogen storage and distribution: Tom DEPOVER
Hydrogen usages: Elena CRESPI
Cross-Cutting activities: Sergii KASHKAROV
Best researcher of the year: Giovanni DI ILIO

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Publication date
24 November 2023
Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking