The development of alternative propulsion systems and energy carriers has become a key factor for economical success in the vehicle industry and the energy sector within the last few years. Tighter emission limits for pollutants, greenhouse gases and noise together with targets for improvements in energy efficiency are the main drivers for an increasing demand for innovations in the energy and transport sector. Furthermore the volatile prices of crude oil and the dependency on politically unstable regions have raised the pressure to develop alternative energy carriers.
The automotive (supply) industry is an important sector of the Austrian economy as it accounts for over ten percent of Austria’s gross domestic product. In order to secure its competitiveness, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit) provides funding of R&D and demonstration projects developing alternative propulsion systems and fuels. Support for their market introduction emanates from the synergies the bmvit can provide out of its simultaneous responsibility for technology, infrastructure and transport policy.
The market launch of alternative drive trains and fuels requires close collaboration between the energy and vehicle industry complemented by an active technology policy. Therefore, in 2006 the bmvit established the A3PS as a strategic public-private partnership for a close cooperation between industry, research institutions and the ministry with the common goal to develop alternative propulsion systems and fuels and to introduce them on the market. Following the principles of modern technology policy, the bmvit is convinced that public authorities can facilitate the development of new technologies far beyond funding R&D projects.
The A3PS is a platform of complementary partners with a joint mission for the development of efficient, competitive and clean vehicles as well as their energy carriers and infrastructure by providing a broad portfolio of services for its member institutions.
Objectives and Tasks
- Networking: Stimulating R&D co-operations embedding the Austrian industry and research institutions into national and international new value chains in a leading position.
- Information:Strengthening the competence of Austrian enterprises and research institutions by collecting, compiling and disseminating information on alternative propulsion systems and energy carriers in a targeted way to the members of the agency.
- Know-How Presentation: Presenting the technological know-how, engineering competence and products of the A3PS members in national and international conferences and initiatives.
- Safeguarding interests: Supporting the representation of Austrian interests in international committees and initiatives of the EU and the IEA.
- Orientation: Establishing a common view between industry, research institutions and technology by developing a common strategy and roadmaps for the development and market introduction of alternative propulsion systems and energy carriers.
- Explanation: Providing well-founded and balanced advice for policy makers to support the optimisation of their policy instruments (funding programs, regulations, standards, public procurement, etc.) and to inform the public about the opportunities and perspectives of these new technologies.
The A3PS addresses all technologies contributing to increase the energy efficiency and to reduce emissions (such as for example, electric vehicles, fuel cells, hydrogen, hybrid drive trains, batteries, natural gas vehicles or liquid/gas-based biofuels) and covers the whole innovation cycle (research, development, deployment). It coordinates regional and thematic sectoral activities within Austria to avoid duplications and to achieve a critical mass in the international perception.
The A3PS offers its 30 members the following broad portfolio of additional support services:
Procurement, compilation, analysis and distribution of information for the A3PS-member institutions
- Technology foresight and assessment, comparative assessment of studies, analysis of international R&D strategies, internal workshops, organisation of professional lectures and seminars, information about dates and results of international conferences, information about relevant EU, national and regional funding opportunities.
Stimulation of cooperation and international networking
- Organisation of workshops to initiate co-operation and linking up of complementary partners.
- Stimulation of interdisciplinary research projects and co-operation between technology providers and users in pilot and demonstration projects.
- Support for the participation of Austrian research institutions in EU-projects and programs.
Policy advice, media work and international representation of the members’ interests
- Well-balanced technical support for policy makers based on the comprehensive know-how of A3PS members for the planning of bmvit-strategies and optimisation of its funding instruments. Development of roadmaps for the successful implementation of these new technologies.
- Support for the planning of a framework to promote innovation (regulatory policy and fiscal policy, fuel taxation, endowment of funding instruments, technical and safety standards, emission limits, garage regulation, differentiated access restrictions to sensitive areas).
- Creation of position papers as a basis for the representation of Austrian interests by the bmvit in international committees and initiatives as well as the representation of the bmvit in the IEA.
- Information of the public on the potentials and the state of development of alternative propulsion systems.
Presentation of the members’ competence
- Marketing for Austrian technology competence and the members’ engineering and product know-how by organisation of conferences as well as by publications and presentations at conferences.
The decision of the bmvit to establish and to co-fund A3PS offers the research community a long-term security for planning and investments through an established structure beyond day-to-day policy fluctuations. A3PS is pursuing a strategic partnership of all stakeholders and therefore has served as a model for other countries and for national implementation of the European Union’s technology platforms.