As announced previously, the German federal transport ministry BMVI has launched its subsidy program to start up the market for hydrogen and fuel cell products in transportation. The first stage of the National Innovation Program Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology, or NIP for short, supported research and development activities as well as demonstration projects and came to an end last year. NIP 2 is now following in its footsteps. From 2016 through 2026, it is said to guarantee the continuation of R&D activities and assist with the introduction of the first products that have reached market maturity but are not yet competitive.
The grant guideline titled Measures for Market Activation was implemented on March 1, 2017, and has been the second BMVI measure based on NIP 2. The first one, Measures for Research, Development and Innovation, had already been published on Sept. 29, 2016. The BMVI has allocated EUR 250 million to both programs. During the NIP general assembly in 2015, EUR 161 million were expected to be put aside for program activities from 2016 through 2018. As planning has now been extended to include 2019, the budget was raised accordingly. Applications can already be submitted.
The program is aimed particularly at operators of fuel cell vehicles in public mass transport and commercial fleets of cities, towns and private-sector investors. It funds vehicles used on roads, rails, on water and for special purposes in logistics as well as the associated infrastructure, but also electrolysis systems to produce H2. Additionally, support will be provided for non-stationary CHP systems and off-grid power supply.
The German federal economy ministry, BMWi, likewise continues its support of hydrogen and fuel cells in applied research and development as part of its sixth Energy Research Program with EUR 25 million annually – EUR 5 million more each year than originally stated. Additionally, the BMWi has been incentivizing purchases of residential fuel cells as part of MAP since last year. Overall, the current federal agenda includes pledges of EUR 1.4 billion in hydrogen and fuel cell support from 2016 through 2026.