Tag Archives: transport


SMART is a support system co-funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission (EC). As the EC states on its website, “the FP7 bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment.

Basically, SMART is a web portal that offers support in being involved in RTD research projects at European level to all organizations operating in the Surface-Transport sector. The web portal offers networking and partnering opportunities, as well as providing information and tools to enhance the active participation in research programmes in the sector.

In other words, the main aim of SMART is to provide services to support SMEs participation in RTD research projects under the Transport Work-Programme. The following services are provided:

  • connecting Clustersof Transport sector in different European countries
  • training on EU funding mechanisms
  • facilitating networking opportunities and partnerships creation among all stakeholders of the transport sector (using the metacluster approach)
  • addressing SMEs research capabilities/needs
  • facilitating the creation of consortium with large organizations in projects led by SMEs
  • supporting SMEs in submitting proposals for own project ideas
  • creating a nurturing environment for transnational research projects

In terms of partners involved, SMART has a wide range of stakeholders including Private Technology Transfer companies, Regional SMEs Clusters, Public Innovation Agencies, and Large Enterprises linked to Regional Clusters such as ECONET in Spain and IMAST in Italy.

So what are the actual benefits of SMART?

SMART Web Portal offers a virtual meeting point for all the organizations operating in the Surface Transport Sector. SMART identifies the market needs and the organisations’ skills and competences facilitating the matching of research and innovation demand and offer.

As SMART is co-funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, it must be stated that this is another smart initiative of the EC to generate growth, competitiveness and employment.



TSB and DECC R&D Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

The Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), are funding five new projects that are researching and developing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. These government-backed projects want to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technologies into everyday use so they are using research and development to speed up the adoption of energy systems using hydrogen en fuel cell technologies.

They want to develop whole systems and they want to show that fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies can work together with other energy and transport component such as renewable energy generation, refueling infrastructure and vehicles. So energy and transport components can be integrated with the fuel cell systems and hydrogen technologies. These technologies can also be used in low carbon energy systems and transport.

Mark Prisk, Business Minister, said that the UK has innovative business developing world-leading hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The UK wants to capture a share of the global market by developing a coherent capability and vibrant industry. If they are in the position to capture that share of the market, they will be able to attract international partnerships and inward investment. This will also cause a growth of the national economy and create job opportunities. These five new projects complement the already joint government/industry project called UK H2 Mobility. This project is currently evaluating potential roll-out scenarios for hydrogen for transport in the UK.

Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister, said that hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies are at the cutting edge of new low carbon energy solutions. It is important to see how these technologies can be integrated with other energy and transport products and it are these new and exciting government-supported projects that will look into that. He also said that he is looking forward to seeing the results.

The five new projects were selected through a competitive process and will be led by Air Products plc, BOC Ltd, ITM Power (Trading), Rutland Management Ltd and SSE plc. The projects will:

  • Create the UK’s first end-to-end, integrated, green hydrogen production, distribution and retailing system. This will be centered around a fully publically accessible, state-of-the-art 700 bar renewable H2 refueling station network across London (Air Products Plc).
  • Deliver solar energy generated hydrogen for Swindon’s exiting public access H2 refueling station. This will happen via an electrolyser. And its use in materials handling vehicles and light vans at Honda’s manufacturing plant (BOC Ltd).
  • Integrate an electrolyser based refueller with renewable energy on the Isle of Wight. This will enable zero carbon hydrogen to be produced for use as transport fuel for a range of vehicles (ITM Power).
  • Demonstrate a viable solar-hydrogen energy system through the 24/7 provision of green electricity and heat. The benefits will be shared by multiple end users of a business park in Surrey (Rutland Management Ltd).
  • Demonstrate a whole renewable hydrogen system, connecting a 1MWe electrolyser to the grid. This is in conjunction with an Aberdeenshire wind farm. They want to explore the grid impacts and energy storage potential of hydrogen generation, and provide green hydrogen produced to power a fleet of fuel cell buses (SSE plc).

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, added that these innovative, large-scale demonstrators will show how fuel cells and hydrogen technologies can be adapted, developed and integrated to provide real-time and real-world low carbon solutions. These projects will also show how the Technology Strategy Board can help the UK businesses to accelerate the development and commercialization of technological innovations.

A grant funding of £9 million is provided by the Technology Strategy Board and DECC. This means the total value of the projects, including contributions from the industrial partners, is in excess of £19 million. The projects are building on previous Government support for fuel cells and hydrogen systems, accelerating the process towards commercialization.

Malaysia- A green public transport system

With the increasing number of vehicles on the roads in Malaysia, the pollution they will create is sparking a great deal of discussion about the future of Malaysia’s transport, both public and private. On the one hand, the option of creating an improved network of connections- particularly for the capital city- is a potential solution. On the other hand, green transportation may be the way forward.

The Acting CEO, Ahmad Zairin Ismail, of the Malaysian Green Technology Corporation (GreenTech Malaysia) believes that green transportation is extremely important to Malaysia’s economy. It stands to reason that, given that the transportation sector is second only to the energy section sector in the production of CO2, and that the transportation sector is closely linked to the subsidy of fuel, that improvements made in fuel efficiency will reduce the economic burden of the fuel subsidy in the future.

A green alternative may be the only realistic and long-term solution to tackle the current problems in the system. While the government endeavours to improve public transportation systems, its clear that the issue of carbon emissions and climate change cannot be ignored.

Ahmad has indicated that a number of parties are looking to improve the public transport system, both in terms of improving the system’s convenience, and a reduction in energy consumption, stating as well that the public bus system has been looking into more advanced concepts and technologies, and that with a greener public transport system, a more green-conscious society will begin to emerge.

It starts with the buses. By introducing electric buses, which do not contribute directly to the carbon emission total as with diesel buses, they will also reduce noise pollution as well.

This is being taken even further. Malaysia’s Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water has appointed GreenTech Malaysia to coordinate the development of an Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Roadmap. The idea is to replace the internal combustion engine with non-emission vehicles, which brings with it additional opportunities in the area of energy production- such as solar and biomass. GreenTech has consulted with various players with experience in the industry, and studied best-practices from developed nations with more mature electric vehicle policies while developing their own.

Their goal is for 10% of vehicles to be electric by 2020 (100,000 vehicles in the country), and plan to take full advantage of Malaysia’s own car manufacturer, and vibrant automotive, electronics & ICT industries in helping their electric vehicle industry mature.

Pilot demonstration projects are already well underway, and the completion of the roadmap is slated for next year, with the implementation of the roadmap scheduled to follow thereafter.
The regulatory framework that will allow electric cars to be driven on Malaysian roads is already in place. Pilot tests on the electric buses are underway, and the framework that will enable them to operate in Malaysia is being developed.

One of their focuses is the infrastructure for charging the buses when the system is in full effect. A mix of standard charging equipment, fast charging & battery swapping will be used, but must be set up and used in a highly visible way so as to alleviate any fears or anxieties about electric vehicles and their range. A number of internationally accepted standards are being considered for adoption.

Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC)

One of the greatest challenges facing the EU in the future will be that cities have to start adapting to smart intelligent and sustainable environments. That’s why the European Commission launched a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC). The main reasons why the Commission launched the SCC is to gather resources from energy, transport and the IT sector and they also want to boost the development of smart technologies in cities. They’ve set aside €365 million in EU funds for these types of urban technology solutions for 2013.

Cities have to grow into Smart Cities and they have to start developing and using innovative smart technologies. But cities face limitation in the development of these technologies due to high technological risks, difficulties over certain returns on investments or regulatory difficulties.

Günther Oettinger, Energy Commissioner, pointed out that innovations are needed in Europe to drive competitiveness and he said that innovation is the best means of addressing energy efficiency. The new technologies, like high efficiency heating and cooling systems, smart metering, real-time energy management and zero-energy buildings, that already exist need to be spread more among all the European cities and the SCC will help with this.

Siim Kallas, Commission Vice-President responsible for transport, added that European cities suffer a lot from road accidents, poor air quality and noise. He said it’s important to work towards CO2 free cities and to get there, more advanced research and innovation is needed. And Neelie Kroes, Commission Vice-President responsible for digital agenda, added that cities need to rethink how to reduce congestion and increase energy efficiency in the urban environment. He said it’s the ICT that puts the “smart” in Smart Cities and this challenges other industries.

Some of the major challenges that the SCC will tackle are for example the congestion. Nearly 75% of European citizens live in cities and they consumer about 70% of EU’s energy, this costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year. So the smart urban technologies need to tackle challenges like this.

Future Cities Demonstrator competition

Local authorities of urban areas with a population of at least 125,000 in the UK can enter the Future Cities Demonstrator competition. This is a design competition to hunt for ideas for “future cities”. The UK government launched this competition worth £24 million and it’s funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB). The aim is to improve the overall quality of life for people living in the city. And they want to do this with unique and functional methods of integrating city systems in an environmentally-sound and economical way. So, this calls for large-scale designs.

There are lots of things that local authorities should consider when they think about these future cities. Transport, communication and waste management are just a handful of the systems that have to be put in a proposal for the future city.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive at TSB, said that in the future, efficient, attractive and resilient cities need to be delivered. So there will be a large market for innovative approaches. TSB is well positioned to exploit the growing market since they have world-leading companies in areas such as project management, engineering, architecture, energy and transport systems, communications and the digital economy.

When local authorities enter the competition, they can win one of the 20 grants of £50,000. These grants can be used to further demonstrate and develop the ideas they entered. And one of these twenty grants is a £24 million award for the final proposal.

The government hopes that the programme will give multinationals and homegrown SME’s an incentive to work together with cities and to start debates to create more efficient and integrated systems and products. The debate is already going on, with University College London, Imperial College and Cisco announcing in 2011 that they would open a Future Cities Centre in east London’s Tech City. And TSB  also announced earlier this year that they will launch the Future Cities Catapult, a technology research centre focusing on innovative city planning and supporting businesses in the field.

So the competition gives cities and businesses the change to test innovative ideas and see the results of their ideas sooner than they might have thought.