The European Union is homing in on hydrogen as a way to meet its ambitious goals of generating 22 percent of its electricity and 12 percent of all energy from renewables by 2010. Energy independence is increasingly urgent for Europe, which imports a whopping 70 percent of its oil and gas from foreign sources, including the Middle East and Russia. Last week, the European Commission (the E.U.’s governing body) met with senior executives from Shell, DaimlerChrysler, and other companies to hear advice on how to speed the development of hydrogen fuel cells, which would store the power generated from sources like the wind and sun. The commission has allocated more than $2 billion for research into sustainable energy projects over the next five years, a 20-fold increase over the previous five years. Romano Prodi, the commission’s president, said, “We are not working on a scientific experiment. … We are working for change in the most important pattern of consumption of a contemporary society.”