For the first time since the creation of the Innovation Fund, the European Union is investing 118 million euros into 32 small innovative projects located in 14 EU Member States, Iceland and Norway.
The grants will support projects aiming to bring low-carbon technologies to the market in energy-intensive industries, hydrogen, energy storage and renewable energy.
In addition to these grants, 15 projects will benefit from project development assistance worth up to 4.4 million euros, with the aim of advancing their maturity.
“With today’s investment, the EU is giving concrete support to cleantech projects all over Europe to scale up technological solutions that can help reach climate neutrality by 2050,” said Executive Vice-President Timmermans. “The increase of the Innovation Fund proposed in the Fit for 55 Package will enable the EU to support even more projects in the future, speed them up and bring them to the market as quickly as possible.”
The 32 projects selected for funding were evaluated by independent experts for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional technologies and to innovate beyond the state-of-the-art while being sufficiently mature to enable their quick deployment.
Among the selected projects, there are also a few from Central and Eastern Europe. In Croatia, the Closed Carbon Geothermal Energy project will generate CO2 free heat and power by using a novel combination of existing technologies from other industries to exploit geothermal energy and dissolved natural gas from the same source.
Poland aims to build a pilot water electrolysis system to produce green hydrogen for use in the transport sector. The system will comprise two Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysers powered by renewable sources, originating from both an on-site solar photovoltaic plant (60 per cent) and external suppliers (40 per cent). The production capacity is expected to achieve 710 tons of hydrogen per year. The main innovative element of the project is the construction of a self-designed electrolyser stack allowing for energy efficiency savings of 5 per cent.
Finally, Estonia’s selected project seeks to decarbonise maritime transport by integrating batteries into the propulsion system of a passenger/car ferry and allowing diesel engines to run only in challenging situations, such as sea ice build-up. It combines three main innovative elements which have the potential to reduce GHG emissions by 61 per cent in comparison to a reference scenario.