Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, recently travelled to the European Commission in Brussels to attend the annual forum of the FCH JU (Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking), a structure that brings together the European Commission, Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research to promote the roll-out of hydrogen technology as part of the shift towards zero-carbon mobility.
After a presentation of the ACO’s hydrogen programme, a letter of intent was signed by the FCH JU, Hydrogen Europe, Hydrogen Europe Research and the ACO to promote hydrogen technology, demonstrate its potential and actively contribute to the energy transition.
As part of the day-long programme of debates and presentations, Pierre Fillon set out the ACO’s hydrogen programme before a 400-strong audience including Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of the European Commission, Ismail Ertug, member of the European Parliament and member of the Committee for Transport and Tourism, Ditte Juul Jorgensen, head of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, and Mauro Petriccione, head of the European Commission’s DG for Climate Action.
Mr. Fillon spoke about Mission H24, the project launched jointly with GreenGT in 2018 and now backed by Total, the goal of which is to introduce a special category for electric/hydrogen prototypes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2024. He also referred to the installation of a hydrogen filling station near the Le Mans circuit, a project run jointly with Le Mans city council and the Pays de la Loire regional council. The ACO keen is to rise to the challenge of the energy transition and is actively involved in the various aspects of hydrogen technology deployment, including refuelling, performance, development, and safety.
Here are a few excerpts from Mr Fillon’s presentation:
“Before I begin, allow me a sip of car emissions… It’s symbolic, but like many symbols, it has great impact. Imagine a driver – a racing driver – getting out of her car and being able to drink its emissions! That’s one of the many advantages of hydrogen! We officially launched MissionH24 with GreenGT in September 2018. We have begun promoting hydrogen on the racetrack and the goal is to introduce a category at Le Mans in 2024. It will be a world-first over that distance!
We need to dispel some myths and instill new ways of thinking. Our contribution, our role as the ACO is to make sure endurance racing is sustainable. A year in, MissionH24 has attracted plenty of interest. Total and Michelin joined us early on. And Le Mans city council and Pays de la Loire regional council are particularly supportive. Related projects are springing up across the city. We are motor race organisers, we are a club for motorists, we are citizens, with the same preoccupations as you.
Cars are our thing, but our objective is mobility, freedom of movement for all, but with an eye on the future, making sure we leave a planet for new generations to enjoy.”
The project has reached some important milestones since the launch of Mission H24 at a round of the European Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps in September 2018, as this video demonstrates.