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Renewable Hydrogen

Clean Hydrogen Partnership call published, with a budget of 113.5 million euros

Clean Hydrogen Partnership

More than 113 million euros to fund projects contributing to the development of the hydrogen value chain. This is the budget of the call published on Wednesday by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, a unique public-private partnership supporting research and innovation activities in hydrogen technologies in Europe, also known as the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (CHJU). Applications for projects, with budgets ranging from 1.5 million euros to 20 million euros, can be submitted until 17 April via the EU’s Funding and Tenders Portal.

In this year’s edition, the CHJU emphasises continuity with the themes of the previous call. In doing so, it aims to advance technological development in crucial areas such as water electrolysis, underground storage solutions, the establishment of hydrogen refuelling stations and the improvement of hydrogen fuel cells. In line with previous initiatives, the CHJU is also committed to the establishment of two new hydrogen valleys, i.e. ecosystems where the seamless integration of various components along the hydrogen value chain and an integrated system approach that spans geographic scopes from local and regional to national or even international are highlighted.

The topics of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership call

As in previous years, some topics require the participation from a member of Hydrogen Europe (the leading European association for the promotion of hydrogen technologies) or Hydrogen Europe Research (an international non-profit association of more than 150 universities and research and technology organisations from 29 countries across Europe).

The call covers 20 topics, structured by areas:

  • Renewable hydrogen production (five topics, 25 million euros);
  • Hydrogen storage and distribution (five topics, 27 million euros);
  • Hydrogen end uses: transport applications (four topics, 19 million euros);
  • Hydrogen end uses: clean heat and power (two topics, 9 million euros);
  • Cross-cutting activities (two topics, 4.5 million euros);
  • Hydrogen valleys (two topics, 29 million euros).

“At Zabala Innovation, our considerable experience gained since the launch of the programme is demonstrated by the achievement of a 100% project funding rate in the last call,” stresses Paul Babillot, CHJU call expert consultant. “This puts us in a privileged position to offer support not only in the preparation of applications, but also in the subsequent management of projects that have been funded,” he adds.

Decarbonising the economy

Heir to the experience of the former Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, the CHJU is endowed with 1.2 billion euros under the Horizon Europe programme, a budget double that of its predecessor under Horizon 2020. “This is a clear commitment by the European Commission to make hydrogen the energy of the future. With its ability to decarbonise various sectors and its role in promoting a carbon neutral economy, hydrogen embodies Brussels’ commitment to a greener and more resilient future for Europe and beyond,” says Babillot.

To achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal and REPowerEU, this partnership focuses on research and innovation actions (RIAs), and aims to support predominantly SMEs, while other programmes, such as the Innovation Fund, focus on mature projects, or on investment projects, without considering the innovation dimension, as is the case of the European Hydrogen Bank. Innovative actions (IAs), however, are also part of the CHJU work programme, with the objective of commercially deploying these new technologies or processes.

Three pillars and four horizontal actions

To cover all aspects of the hydrogen value chain, the programme is divided into three pillars:

  • Pillar 1: Renewable hydrogen production to establish a cost-competitive, eco-friendly, and innovative clean hydrogen industry capable of meeting rising energy demands while reducing carbon emissions and advancing the energy transition towards a more sustainable future.
  • Pillar 2: Hydrogen storage and distribution to facilitate the rollout of clean hydrogen and establish the necessary infrastructure to support its large-scale utilization.
  • Pillar 3: Hydrogen end uses to catalyse and facilitate the integration of clean hydrogen into various end-use sectors by identifying and supporting the most promising applications. This pillar is further divided into two parts: transport applications and clean heat and power.

These pillars are complemented by coordination and support initiatives to facilitate the mass deployment of hydrogen. They are therefore supported by four other activities that intersect horizontally:

  • Cross-cutting activities;
  • Hydrogen valleys;
  • Hydrogen supply chains;
  • Strategic research challenges.