European S & T aims to further develop the research potential of the enlarged European Research Area (ERA) by increasing Mediterranean Partner Country (MPC) research and technological capacities. Moreover, fuel cells and hydrogen are becoming one of Europe's leading new strategic energy technologies. Supported by EU funding, the 'Empowering Tunisian renewable energy research activities' (ETRERA) project aimed to advance renewable energy in Tunisia through powerful new synergies. The project brought the Tunisian Research and Technology Center of Energy (CRTEn) together with three European research centres of excellence in France and Italy. The European centres with complementary know-how on fuel cell and hydrogen technologies were based on a CRTEn strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis. This helped point out CRTEn main research activities and S & T needs in terms of know-how, expertise, technologies and missing equipment. Based on this, project members were involved in a number of coordinated activities. To aid CRTEn capacity building, the project oversaw staff exchanges and conducted seminars to train emerging young researchers and postdoctoral students. New researchers were recruited, thus forming a new group that started working on polymer electrolyte fuel cells (PEFCs), and a new PEFC laboratory was built. Project members helped CRTEn gain access to international scientific communities, networks and platforms on fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. Furthermore, the Centre improved its visibility at international level by establishing partnerships with the most relevant research centres and industrial enterprises. ETRERA partners also signed a framework agreement to continue future S & T cooperation with Tunisia. Collaboration initiatives among different countries play a fundamental role in developing and spreading knowledge regarding sustainable energy production. As Tunisia has limited conventional energy resources, ETRERA helped boost its economy and strengthen its vision for sustainability.
Renewable energy, fuel cell, hydrogen, polymer electrolyte fuel cell