The second iteration of a Europe-wide project to improve hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and boost uptake of fuel cell electric vehicles, both passenger and commercial, has begun.

The six-year H2ME 2 scheme is backed by 37 partners, including Daimler, Renault Trucks and the University of Manchester. It is looking to bring 1,230 fuel cell vehicles into operation, as well as construct 20 hydrogen-refuelling stations and test the ability of electrolyser refuelling hubs to help balance the electrical grid.

It follows last year's H2ME 1 scheme that combined four, previously separate, hydrogen adoption initiatives from across Europe.

The €100m scheme will also evaluate the technical and commercial readiness of vehicles, fuelling stations and hydrogen production techniques and establish where further investment is required.

Ben Madden, director, Element Energy and project coordinator, said: “Hydrogen Mobility Europe will demonstrate the use of hydrogen in the hands of a wide range of vehicle drivers from across Europe, all of whom value the long range, low carbon and low-emission driving offered by the technology.

“Understanding these customers will allow the sector to plan for the accelerated deployment of this important technology, “ he added.

Fabio Ferrari, coordinator of the French consortium taking part in the project and CEO of Symbio FCell, said that new French hydrogen refuelling stations are currently planned for Bordeaux, Nancy, Nantes and Paris.

“The project will result in a large deployment of utility vehicle fleets. These fleets are made up of light vans, small trucks, as well as a taxi fleet of 60 full fuel-cell powered vehicles in the Greater Paris Area," Ferrari added.