Project in brief

What is the project intended for?

SWARM stands for “Demonstration of Small 4-Wheel fuel cell passenger vehicle Applications in Regional and Municipal transport”.

This project will establish a large demonstration fleet of small passenger vehicles that builds on and expands existing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Europe allowing drivers to go from Scotland to Scandinavia or Berlin, via the new and existing stations in Aberdeen, London, Hamburg, Cologne, and Copenhagen.

The vehicles employed are low-cost, high fuel-efficiency, hybridised, light-weight passenger cars specifically designed for city and regional transport.

These vehicles provide a complementary pathway to commercialisation to the large Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) hydrogen fuel cell vehicle options, by allowing near-term rollout on a commercial basis to a wide range of users – in parallel with the planned rollouts for larger OEM vehicles from 2015.

How long will the project last? When will vehicles be on the road?

The project started in October 2012 and is scheduled to end in December 2017.

The first vehicles will be on the road at the end of 2015 in the UK.

Vehicles in Brussels and Bremen will be deployed in summer 2016.

The vehicles will be monitored throughout thedemonstration phase of the project (2015-2017).

What will be the key outputs of the project?

This project will deploy an unprecedented number of road vehicles for a demonstration project, with three manufacturers contributing 50 vehicles to the project.

An extensive data monitoring exercise will run throughout the demonstration phase, allowing the reliability of the vehicles driven by a range of users to be evaluated and leading to recommendations for the improvement of future, fully commercial vehicle designs.

The three regions will deploy state-of-the-art, high-capacity hydrogen filling stations, adding a total of 3 new stations to existing supply sites, creating some of the first regional hydrogen refuelling clusters in Europe.

Who are the partners involved in the project?

The partners involved in this project are companies and institutions from Belgium, France, Germany and the UK. Please take a look at the Consortium page for more information.


How is the project funded?

Partners involved in the project are contributing about 60% of costs incurred through the project. The remaining 40% is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) for the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative under grant agreement n° 303485.

What is the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU)?

The FCH JU is a unique public private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) activities in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies, realising their potential as an instrument in achieving a carbon-lean energy system. Fuel cells, as an efficient conversion technology, and hydrogen, as a clean energy carrier, have a great potential to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons and to contribute to economic growth.


The objective of the FCH JU is to bring these benefits to Europeans through a concentrated effort from all sectors. The three members of the FCH JU are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by the NEW Industry Grouping and the research community represented by Research Grouping N.ERGHY.

For more information please visit the FCH JU website at: or write an email to: fch-ju[at] , Tel. +32 2 221 81 35.


Field trials

Where will the vehicles be deployed?

Three regions are participating in SWARM in the UK, Brussels and Germany:

·         the British Midlands (Coventry and Birmingham),

·         the Brussels area and Wallonia in Belgium, and

·         the Weser-Ems region in North West Germany.

Each of these regions will deploy a new hydrogen refuelling site. They will gain the infrastructure, public exposure and technological understanding to act as seed locations for future large scale OEM vehicle rollout.

The regions Brussels and Weser-Ems will as a consequence own a state-of-the-art, high capacity (200kg/day), high performance (70 MPa) filling station, supported by existing smaller stations of lower capacity and pressure (depending on the region).

Who can join the field trials?

The 50 vehicles to be deployed through the project will be put in the hands of real users.

Companies and individuals wishing to trial the vehicles during this demonstration stage have the opportunity to enter the future of zero-emission transportation at an early stage and are invited to contact the management team of the demo region they could partner with.

Who should I contact if I would like to be involved in the deployment of vehicles through the project?

For more information on how to participate in the project please contact the corresponding demo regions:

·         For the British Midlands (Coventry and Birmingham),

·         For the Brussels area and Wallonia, and

·         For the Weser-Ems region in North West Germany.

Hydrogen and Transportation

What is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle?

A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is a type of electric vehicle that uses a fuel cell to power the vehicle. In the fuel cell, hydrogen is combined with oxygen from air and converted into water, and in the process it produces electricity.

This electricity is used to drive the electric motor which turns the wheels of the vehicle, similar to a battery electric vehicle.

Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles use innovative vehicle systems for the mobility of the future. (Source: H2O)

How do you refuel a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle?

A hydrogen vehicle is refuelled at designated service stations by inserting a hydrogen nozzle into the vehicle’s fuelling port and locking it in position. The correct amount of hydrogen is then automatically delivered to the vehicle’s tank where it is stored under pressure. Filling a tank can take 3–5 minutes. The process is very similar to the refuelling of a conventional vehicle and almost identical to filling of a natural gas vehicle.

Why is hydrogen a clean energy carrier?

Used in the fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, with water as the only by product – thereby producing no harmful local emissions.

Hydrogen can be produced from a range of energy sources. The majority of the world’s hydrogen is produced from natural gas today.  However hydrogen can also be produced from ultra-low carbon energy sources such as renewable electricity, biomass or waste. Whilst today’s hydrogen production routes offer meaningful CO2 emission savings compared with conventional vehicles (up to 50%), in the long term production is expected from ultra-low carbon sources and hence offers the potential to fully decarbonise road transport.

General enquiries

For general enquiries please contact: info[at]