ECONOMY

Greek islands could become Europe’s pioneer alternative-energy centers

Greek islands may become «experimental hydrogen communities» as part of the European Union’s strategic research planning. Answering a question by New Democracy MEP and member of the parliamentary Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Nikos Vakalis, the European Commission has confirmed the EU’s interest in hydrogen as one of the main candidates for alternative fuel production. The Commission believes that islands such as Milos, with rich renewable energy sources (RES), may become application fields for hydrogen technology, ahead of building future experimental hydrogen communities. With the prospect of hydrogen becoming a large-scale future energy factor, the Commission launched the European Technological Platform for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell last January, aiming at developing a strategy until the creation of the first markets. Funded by the Sixth Framework Program for Research and Technological Development, the platform forms a common strategic research timetable, and promotes the use of hydrogen and fuel cells across Europe. In his question, Vakalis stressed that Greece could absorb significant research funds from the planned Seventh Framework Program by making an island such as Milos, with considerable geothermal, solar and wind potential, a convergence point for innovative research groups and pilot application of research projects to create hydrogen via human-friendly RES technology. The Commission, in reply, said the technological initiatives with RES and hydrogen may become the EU’s research focus, securing more funds to this end.