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Brussels approves IPCEI projects

By Sven Geitmann

May 15, 2024

Image titel: As part of EWE’s Clean Hydrogen Coastline scheme, a total of four subprojects will be initiated – two electrolyzers, a cavern storage facility and a connecting pipeline

Sources: EWE / Litho Niemann + M. Steggemann

Brussels approves IPCEI projects

3rd funding wave for H2 infrastructure measures

The decision has finally come. In mid-February 2024, the European Commission approved 24 German IPCEI projects aka Important Projects of Common European Interest. Within the framework of IPCEI Hydrogen, funding is granted to large-scale projects across the entire hydrogen value chain – from H2 production and transportation to storage infrastructure and industrial deployment.

These projects are approved by the European Commission in several “waves.” In the current third wave, attention was turned to infrastructure schemes involving a total of seven EU member states (Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia). Across all projects, the aim is to build almost 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) of Hpipelines, more than 3.2 gigawatts of H2 production capacity in addition to approximately 370 gigawatt-hours of H2 storage capacity.

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“While the renewable hydrogen supply chain in Europe is still in a nascent phase, Hy2Infra will deploy the initial building blocks of an integrated and open renewable hydrogen network. This IPCEI will establish the first regional infrastructure clusters in several Member States and prepare the ground for future interconnections across Europe, in line with the European Hydrogen Strategy. This will support the market ramp-up of renewable hydrogen supply and take us steps closer to making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.”

Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy

“For a successful roll-out of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, all pieces of the puzzle need to come together. With this new Important Project of Common European Interest, 32 companies, including 5 SMEs, will invest in hydrogen infrastructure, for a total of more than 12 billion euro of private and public investment, to match supply and demand of hydrogen. It provides industries with more options to decarbonise their activities while boosting their competitiveness and creating jobs.”

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton

“I’m pleased that the wait for European funding approval has come to an end. It means we have made an important step toward realizing our hydrogen project. I now hope that we will soon receive funding approval from the German government so that we have a good basis for making the final investment decision within our committees.”

EWE Chief Executive Officer Stefan Dohler

It is expected that member states will provide up to EUR 6.9 billion in public funding which will then unlock EUR 5.4 billion in private investment. Involved in the 33 projects is a total of 32 companies, with small- and medium-sized businesses among them. Thus the IPCEI Hy2Infra should go some way in “helping to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan,” according to Brussels.

Most of the participating companies have been waiting a long time for this go-ahead to be given, which will enable them to finally kick off their projects. It is anticipated that several large electrolyzers will be commissioned between 2026 and 2028 and a number of pipelines will be brought into service between 2027 and 2029.


Fig. 2: Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies plans, as part of its Green Hydrogen@Blue Danube project, to trial benzyltoluene as a hydrogen carrier for the purpose of ensuring safe and efficient transportation of green hydrogen for supplying industrial off-takers in the Danube region

Hydrogenious_LOHC_ReleasePLANT_Rendering, Source: Hydrogenious,

IPCEI

The IPCEI Hy2Tech, which focuses on the development of hydrogen technologies for end consumers, was approved on July 15, 2022. This was followed in the second wave on Sept. 21, 2022, by the IPCEI Hy2Use which targets hydrogen applications in the industrial sector.

“IPCEI Hy2Infra contributes to a common objective by supporting the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure important for achieving the objectives of key EU policy initiatives such as the European Green Deal, the REPowerEU Plan and the EU Hydrogen Strategy.

All 33 projects included in the IPCEI are highly ambitious, as they aim at developing infrastructure that go [sic] beyond what the market currently offers. They will lay the first building blocks for an integrated and open hydrogen network, accessible on non-discriminatory terms, and enable the market ramp-up of renewable hydrogen supply in Europe. This will allow for the decarbonisation of economic sectors that depend on hydrogen to reduce their carbon emissions.

Aid to individual companies is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and does not unduly distort competition.”

European Commission

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