The European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a second Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to support research and innovation, first industrial deployment and construction of relevant infrastructure in the hydrogen value chain.
The project, called “IPCEI Hy2Use” was jointly prepared and notified by thirteen Member States: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.
The Member States will provide up to €5.2 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock additional €7 billion in private investments. As part of this IPCEI, 29 companies with activities in one or more Member States, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, will participate in 35 projects.
IPCEI Hy2Use will cover a wide part of the hydrogen value chain by supporting:
the construction of hydrogen-related infrastructure, notably large-scale electrolyzers and transport infrastructure, for the production, storage and transport of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen; and
the development of innovative and more sustainable technologies for the integration of hydrogen into the industrial processes of multiple sectors, especially those that are more challenging to decarbonize, such as steel, cement and glass.
The IPCEI is expected to boost the supply of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, thereby reducing dependency on the supply of natural gas.
Several projects are expected to be implemented in the near future, with various large-scale electrolyzers expected to be operational by 2024-2026 and many of the innovative technologies deployed by 2026-2027. The completion of the overall project is planned for 2036, with timelines varying in function of the project and the companies involved.
Norway, as part of the European Economic Area, also participates to the IPCEI Hy2Use with two individual projects. The EFTA Surveillance Authority is in charge of assessing State aid notified by Norway.
IPCEI Hy2Use follows and complements the first IPCEI on the hydrogen value chain, the IPCEI Hy2Tech, which the Commission approved on 15 July 2022. While both IPCEIs address the hydrogen value chain, Hy2Use focuses on projects that are not covered by Hy2Tech, namely hydrogen-related infrastructure and hydrogen applications in the industrial sector (while Hy2Tech focuses on end-users in the mobility sector).
The IPCEI will involve 35 projects from 29 companies, including 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, as well as with over 160 external partners, such as universities, research organisations and SMEs across Europe.
The figure below presents the overall structure of Hy2Use, including the individual projects.
More information on the amount of aid to individual participants will be available in the public version of the Commission's decision, once the Commission has agreed with Member States and third parties on any confidential business secrets that need to be removed.
Background. The Commission’s approval of this IPCEI is part of the wider Commission efforts to support the development of an innovative and sustainable European hydrogen industry.
In 2018, the Commission established the Strategic Forum for IPCEI, a joint body of representatives from Member States and industry. In November 2019, the Strategic Forum published its report and identified, among others, Hydrogen Technologies and Systems as one of several key strategic value chains for Europe. In July 2020, the Commission published its EU Hydrogen Strategy, setting ambitious goals for clean hydrogen production and use, and launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, bringing together the European hydrogen community (industry, civil society, public authorities).
Jointly with the policy priorities set out in the European Green Deal, notably in terms of environmental sustainability as well as the green transition of industry and transport sectors to climate neutrality, these initiatives played an important role for the objectives of the IPCEI Hy2Use and facilitated the creation of industrial partnerships.