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The European Commission, together with the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, Hynergreen and the IPHE, inaugurates the first International Workshop on Renewable Hydrogen, in Seville

October 24, 2005

Seville, October 24, 2005. This morning, the European Commission, together with the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Hynergreen, and under the sponsorship of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE), inaugurated the first International Workshop on Renewable Hydrogen, in the Hospital de los Venerables, the headquarters of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation, in Seville.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by Alfredo Sanchez Monteseirin, the Mayor of Seville; Javier Benjumea, chairman of both the Focus-Abengoa Foundation and Abengoa itself; Francisco Vallejo, Councilor for Innovation, Science and Industry of the Regional Government of Andalusia; Thorsteinn Sigfusson, Co-Chairman of the Implementation and Coordination Committee of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE); and Wiktor Raldow, Director of the Renewable Energy Sources and New Technologies Unit of the European Commission’s General Directorate of Research.

The objective of the workshop, which will run on October 24, 25 and 26, is to analyze the key technologies for hydrogen production from renewable energy sources. In addition, it will enable the different synergies, research deficiencies and needs to be identified, and multilateral collaboration activities to be promoted in this field.

Throughout these three days, authorities from the United States Department of Energy, the European Commission, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency of Japan, and the Ministry of Mining and Energy of Brazil will be attending in Seville, as will prestigious laboratories such as the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TITECH) of Japan, the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) of Switzerland, and the Energy, Environmental and Technological Research Center (CIEMAT) of Spain. In addition, international technical experts selected for their contribution to the production of hydrogen from renewable energy sources will also be participating.

At present, there are many saying that, in a not too far distant future, hydrogen will take the place of crude oil derivatives due both to the scarcity of the crude itself and the need to reduce the emissions of gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect, and also due to the improvement local economies would experience as hydrogen can be produced in a decentralized manner. For this to be achieved, it is important that the production of clean and sustainable hydrogen from renewable energies such as solar, wind or biomass be pursued. This is Renewable Hydrogen, also called Green Hydrogen.

Currently, research and innovation in the production of renewable hydrogen play a leading role in the strategic agendas of different countries and organizations. Recently, twelve members of the European Parliament signed a declaration to promote “Green Hydrogen”, their aim being to adhere to a future that would be fully integrated in the “Hydrogen Economy”, in which Europe would play an important part. The declaration stresses the importance of renewable hydrogen, and the need for emblematic projects that operate as tractors of this new energy era is argued.

The European Commission, executive body of the European Union, is responsible for preparing the proposals for new European laws which it presents to the European Parliament and the Council. Besides, it manages the application of EU policies and the utilization of its funds and ensures that European treaties and community Law is respected. It has far-reaching powers to manage the common policies, whose budgets are entrusted to it, such as the research policy. The Research Policy is funded by the community budget through the “Framework Programs” since the early 80s.

The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE) which was officially launched in Washington, in November 2003, represents a means for the coordination of international multinational research, development and demonstration programs that promote the transition towards a global hydrogen economy. Its partners include governments such as that of the United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, or the European Commission, and international bodies such as the International Energy Agency or the Association of nations of Southeast Asia.

The objective of Hynergreen Technologies, S.A. (Hynergreen), an Abeinsa subsidiary which in turn is Abengoa’s Industrial Engineering and Construction Business Unit, is the organization and development of activities and projects related with the production of electricity utilizing different technology fuel cells, the production of hydrogen from renewable sources and its clean and efficient use. Hynergreen is currently working on introducing fuel cells in sectors such as that of transport, portable applications and stationary use. In addition, it is making a significant research and development effort in the production of renewable hydrogen from high temperature solar thermal energy, employing only water to produce the gas.

The Focus-Abengoa Foundation was established in 1982 to foment activities that would be of benefit to society as a whole. Since 1991, the year in which the Foundation was given the use of its actual headquarters, it has become a center where the arts and sciences are promoted, and in which the cultural heritage of Seville is developed.

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