Like Germany, Austria offers government funding and many public-private demonstration projects in support of the introduction of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Where potential applications are concerned, the country’s focus is on transportation, albeit interest in energy supply seems to be on the rise (mainly, in power-to-gas). The most important drivers of development are well-known, globally operating businesses such as AVL List, Fronius, Magna, OMV and Plansee, and large universities and research organizations located in Graz, Linz and Vienna.
In contrast to its northern neighbor, however, the country in the Alps has no program that is dedicated exclusively to hydrogen and fuel cells. Financial support for research and development in this field is coming from different government departments. The most extensive funding opportunities are offered by the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology or bmvit. This ministry has been providing years-long support across several research programs for developing components, alternative vehicle and propulsion technologies and fuels and demonstrating their effectiveness.
Additionally, bmvit is in charge of implementing European Directive 2014/94/EU, better known as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, that aims to establish an eco-fuel infrastructure. It has prompted the construction of five hydrogen filling stations based on uniform standards by the end of 2016. As in other European countries, the stations mainly serve metropolitan regions and the so-called corridors of the Trans-European Network Transport.
Two important pillars of Austria’s plan to implement and showcase H2 and fuel cell technologies in transportation are the Austrian Agency for Alternative Propulsion Systems or A3PS in Vienna and HyCentA, the Hydrogen Center Austria in Graz. A3PS could be described as Austria’s version of the Clean Energy Partnership, although it also includes all other alternative engine and vehicle technologies besides hydrogen fuel and fuel cell vehicles. It was launched by bmvit in 2006 as a public-private platform to bolster existing support programs and has since attracted not only SME partners from industry, but also large corporations of the automotive and mineral oil industry and many Austrian universities and research organizations …