In 2022, according to data from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory, 206 hydrogen-powered buses were on the road in the European Union. To stimulate demand and supply of hydrogen vehicles, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) allocated EUR 3.64 billion to the national hydrogen supply chain, covering both production and end-use.
This financial commitment is in addition to the EUR 3.88 billion foreseen in the National Strategic Plan for Sustainable Mobility for the purchase of green vehicles, meant for entities such as regions, municipalities with high pollution levels, metropolitan cities and municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The PNRR also envisages some EUR 2.4 billion for the renewal of the vehicle fleet, plus EUR 600 million from the Supplementary Fund for the purchase of electric, methane or hydrogen-powered buses and their supply infrastructure, specifically for extra-urban and suburban public transport. This is the framework upon which the future of Local Public Transport (LPT) is being played, as highlighted in the position paper by ASSTRA - Transport Association and H2IT - the Italian Hydrogen Association, presented during the 1st National Hydrogen in Public Road Transport Conference in Bologna on 4 December.
In addition to describing the current situation, the two associations formulated a series of policy points with the aim of promoting a strategic approach that goes beyond mere financial support, focusing on harmonising regulations and simplifying authorisation processes. Andrea Gibelli, President of ASSTRA, said: “Hydrogen represents an important opportunity for Italy and its industrial system. Success will depend a lot on collaboration between road and rail transport, especially through public-private partnerships.” Valter Alessandria, Vice-President of H2IT, followed along the same line: "In the mobility sector, many major manufacturers, both Italian and European, have invested resources in the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles, because of the benefits this type of technology can offer in terms of flexibility of use, refuelling stop times and autonomy. We are working towards a clear 'end-use' support strategy and the definition of incentive instruments that lower the operating costs of hydrogen production, in order to ensure maximum sustainability of the projects.”
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