The Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Important Project of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI’) to support research and innovation and first industrial deployment in the hydrogen technology value chain. The project, called “IPCEI Hy2Tech” was jointly prepared and notified by fifteen Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
The Member States will provide up to €5.4 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock additional €8.8 billion in private investments.
The IPCEI will cover a wide part of the hydrogen technology value chain, including (i) the generation of hydrogen, (ii) fuel cells, (iii) storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen, and (iv) end-users applications, in particular in the mobility sector. It is expected to contribute to the development of important technological breakthroughs, including new highly efficient electrode materials, more performant fuel cells, innovative transport technologies, among which first time roll out hydrogen mobility ones. The IPCEI is expected to create approximately 20.000 direct jobs.
The Commission assessed the proposed project under EU State aid rules, more specifically its Communication on Important Projects of Common European Interest.
The Commission has found that the IPCEI Hy2Tech fulfils the required conditions set out in its Communication. In particular, the Commission concluded that:
- The project contributes to a common objective by supporting a key strategic value chain for the future of Europe, as well as the objectives of key EU policy initiatives such as the Green Deal, the EU Hydrogen Strategy and REPowerEU.
- All 41 projects part on the IPCEI are highly ambitious, as they aim at developing technologies and processes that go beyond what the market currently offers and will allow major improvements in performance, safety, environmental impact as well as on cost efficiencies.
- The IPCEI also involves significant technological and financial risks, and public support is therefore necessary to provide incentives to companies to carry out the investment.
- Aid to individual companies is limited to what is necessary, proportionate and does not unduly distort competition.
- The results of the project will be widely shared by participating companies benefitting from the public support with the European scientific community and industry beyond the companies and countries that are part of the ICPEI. As a result, positive spill-over effects will be generated throughout Europe.
Funding, beneficiaries and amounts
The IPCEI will involve 41 projects from 35 companies, including 8 small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’) and start-ups, with activities in one or more Member States. The direct participants will closely cooperate with each other through numerous planned collaborations, and with over 300 external partners, such as universities, research organisations and SMEs across Europe.
The timelines of this IPCEI vary in function of the individual projects and the companies involved.
The direct participants, the Member States supporting them and the different technology fields are as follows: