The European Commission approved a second major project of common European interest (IPCEI) to support research, innovation and infrastructure development in the hydrogen value chain.

The project, entitled “IPCEI Hy2Use”, is prepared and supported by thirteen members of the European Union, including Belgium, Finland, France and Spain.

The thirteen member states have provided €5.2 billion in funding, which is expected to unlock a further €7 billion from private investors. 29 private companies in the Member States are expected to participate in 35 different projects in the hydrogen value chain.

Member States are expected to cooperate closely with each other through numerous planned collaborations, as well as through over 160 external partners across Europe.

The IPCEI Hy2Use project

The project covers and supports a wide range of areas in the hydrogen value chain, including: building hydrogen-related infrastructure, such as large-scale electrolysers and transport infrastructure, for the production, storage and transport of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen; and the development of more sustainable technologies to integrate hydrogen into the industrial process of multiple sectors.

The project is expected to have a number of benefits for the hydrogen value chain, such as increasing the supply of renewable, low-carbon hydrogen and reducing the continent’s dependence on natural gas supplies.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said: “Hydrogen can be a game changer for Europe. It is key to diversifying our energy sources and helping us reduce our dependence on Russian gas. We need to expand this niche market. That is why we are creating a hydrogen bank.

“We will also increase our financial participation in important projects of common European interest. This will help create breakthrough innovation and positive effects for the entire EU economy and help drive the economy of the future.”

The commission expects that various projects will be implemented over several years, with large-scale electrolyzers expected to be operational between 2024 and 2026 and many of the innovative technologies to be implemented by 2027. IPCEI Hy2Use is expected to be fully completed by 2036

The project is the second IPCEI in the hydrogen value chain, following and complementing the first project known as ‘Hy2Tech’. Both projects assess the hydrogen value chain, but Hy2Use focuses on projects not covered by Hy2Tech, such as hydrogen-related infrastructure and hydrogen applications in the industrial sector.

The European Commission’s assessment of the project

The Commission assessed the project under EU state rules, allowing member states to overcome market failures faced by private companies, while ensuring that the EU economy benefits from the investment by limiting potential distortions of competition.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the Commission, said: “The hydrogen value chain in Europe is in its infancy. This makes it risky for companies and member states to invest alone in such an innovative market. This is where government aid must play a role in unlocking, attracting and attracting significant private investment that would otherwise not materialize.

The Commission concluded that the project complies with EU state aid rules, highlighting how it contributes to a common objective by supporting key strategies within the hydrogen value chain.

European Commission approves €5.2bn for hydrogen value chain project

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