EIC Green Hydrogen Portfolio
The development of efficient, sustainable and flexible energy systems is a key challenge for Europe’s energy decarbonisation and a corner stone of Europe’s 2050 climate-neutrality goal, set out in the European Green Deal. To achieve such viable energy system, a particular support should be given to solutions aimed at increasing lifetime and decrease the cost of the overall system. In this context, Hydrogen (H2) has the potential to contribute to the above mentioned objectives. Currently H2 is largely produced from fossil fuels, commonly referred to as grey H2, or promising but still expensive blue H2 options, combining methane-to- H2 with carbon capture and storage, or renewable H2 pathways (green H2), entirely based on renewable electricity. Referring to green H2 production, the state of art technology is based on water electrolysis, with costs still higher than grey H2 and production processes affected by the use of critical raw materials.
The ‘Green Hydrogen portfolio’ gathers 9 projects funded through the EIC Pathfinder challenge call “Novel Routes to Green Hydrogen Production“, launched in 2021. The portfolio projects share common topics and a objectives, in this case the efficient generation of green hydrogen, and extend for a period of up to 60 months until September 2027. The total funding from the EIC to these projects sums almost €29 million.
Hydrogen is a considered a clean fuel because burning it yields only water – it doesn’t generate carbon emissions. However, most hydrogen today comes from fossil fuels through a manufacturing process that produces contaminants, including carbon dioxide (CO₂) and requires vast amounts of energy. This is commonly known as “grey hydrogen“. On the other side, “green hydrogen” is generated from water and renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, and therefore it presents a clean alternative. Nevertheless, the manufacture of green hydrogen still faces some challenges, most of which are addressed by the EIC Green Hydrogen Portfolio. Overall, the goal is to make green hydrogen production more efficient, putting Europe at the forefront of this technology.
Despite the promising future for hydrogen as an agent for decarbonisation, in 2021 over 99% of hydrogen produced worldwide came directly from fossil fuels. To reduce our continent’s carbon emissions and drive the European economy towards sustainability the EU wants to lead the generation of green hydrogen. The 9 projects in the EIC Green Hydrogen Portfolio are just one of the mechanisms to establish Europe as a leader in hydrogen, which also include initiatives such as the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, Hydrogen Europe, and the collaboration between industrial and innovation clusters known as “Hydrogen Valleys”.
The European Innovation Council (EIC) has been established under the EU Horizon Europe programme. It has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game changing innovations throughout the lifecycle from early stage research, to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs.
In particular, this portfolio gathers 9 projects funded through the EIC Pathfinder challenge call “Novel Routes to Green Hydrogen Production“. Originally launched in 2021, the activities of the projects will extend for a period of up to 60 months, until September 2027. Overall, the total funding from the EIC to these projects sums almost €29 million.