The European Commission has approved €5.4 billion in public grants to support research into a hydrogen technology value chain proposed by 15 European countries, as well as the first industrial deployment.
The project has been deemed an Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI), and is known as IPCEI Hy2Tech. The 41 individual projects making up IPCEI Hy2Tech cover four main areas – hydrogen generation, fuel cells, the storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen, and end-user applications, in particular in the mobility sector. 35 companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, are involved.
The funding will come from the 15 member states that proposed the project – Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. The funding is expected to unlock a further €8.8 billion in private funding.
The Commission approved the funding under EU state aid rules. It found that IPCEI Hy2Tech fulfils the required conditions for an IPCEI, and is in line with state aid rules for a number of reasons, including that it contributes to a common objective by supporting a key strategic value chain for the future of Europe and supports policy intitative such as the Green Deal and REPowerEU, and that the individual projects will develop technologies and processes that go beyond what the market currently offers. The technological and financial risks are such that public support is necessary to incentivise private companies to invest.
‘Promoting hydrogen development and deployment will boost jobs and growth throughout Europe while contributing to our green and resilience agenda. It enables the clean transition of energy-intensive industries and increases our independence from fossil fuels. With this IPCEI, we see EU hydrogen production moving ‘from lab to fab’; and our industry turning technological mastery into commercial leadership. And of course, we are not only supporting hydrogen through funding. We have also made decisive progress on building partnerships through the Clean Hydrogen Alliance and are developing EU-wide rules for enabling the hydrogen market and creating dedicated infrastructure. Because we know what is at stake: Europe’s position as a leading region for the hydrogen industrial transformation,’ says Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market.