EU Unveils €600 Million Plan for Financing Hydrogen Research

The EU’s Clean Hydrogen Partnership, a public-private partnership, has issued its first request for proposals on 41 hydrogen-related research subjects. The majority of the funds will go toward hydrogen generation and storage.

As the EU pledges to move away from fossil fuels, hydrogen is considered as a handy means of converting power from wind and solar into storable energy by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules via electrolysis.

The European Commission stated in its 2020 hydrogen strategy that hydrogen can be used as a feedstock, a fuel, or an energy carrier and storage, and that it has many potential applications in industries such as transportation, power, and buildings, all of which are considered difficult to decarbonize.

The Commission believes that clean hydrogen may provide 24 percent of global energy consumption by 2050. Estimates for the EU vary from 9 to 14 percent.

The partnership’s new research agenda, which was established on February 25, will see the mobilization of €600 million for various research initiatives, the cost of which will be divided evenly between the EU budget and the private sector players.

This request for projects is worth €300 million out of the €1 billion in public money available to the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. According to René Schutte, director of HyNorth, a branch of Dutch gas giant Gasunie, the call will be matched by at least the same amount of private funding, totaling at least €600 million, Euractiv reports.

The funds will go toward pre-defined research collaboration objectives, with the goal of growing up Europe’s budding hydrogen economy.

Ten grants will be awarded for hydrogen production research, including funds to improve the efficiency of solar thermochemical water splitting and to build low temperature water electrolysers for highly pressured hydrogen generation.

According to Schutte, the focus on making hydrogen production more efficient and cost-effective is a relatively distinctive element of the EU’s research cooperation.