The European long term decarbonisation strategy (LTS) “A Clean Planet for All” published by the European Commission in November 2018 refers to the potential key role of hydrogen in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors, such as industry, cement, steel, and also contributing to decarbonisation of heavy duty and long distance transport.
To help achieve the climate neutrality objective, hydrogen needs to be produced at large scale, mainly through electrolysis powered by renewable electricity. The LTS scenarios achieving climate neutrality envisage an installed electrolyser capacity ranging between 400 and 511 GW by 2050 in the EU. However today the technology is only available at multi-MW scale (a 20 MW electrolyser project is being implemented through the co-funding of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, under the call 2018).
In order to reach the GW scale, an important milestone would be the development and demonstration of a 100MW electrolyser.
The challenge for this topic is to develop larger modules than the state of the art, with reduced balance of plant, managing efficiently the input power, the output hydrogen and oxygen streams, as well as the heat flows, while ensuring the reliability of the system and reducing the footprint through a more compact design. It is expected that the development of bigger modules will help create economies of scale, thus leading to further cost reductions.
The modules will then be assembled into a 100MW electrolyser system, which will be tested and demonstrated in real life conditions, operating flexibly to harvest maximum renewable power. The system will provide grid-balancing services as well as supplying renewable hydrogen to a commercial/industrial application. The hydrogen purity should meet the hydrogen market requirements. The output pressure should be designed to fulfil, when possible, the required pressure for the hydrogen application targeted - including buffer storage needs if any - and reduce as far as possible the need for dedicated hydrogen compression units downstream. The performance and the durability of the electrolyser operating dynamically need to be assessed and potential safety issues addressed.
The activities related to the development of test methodologies, protocols and procedures for the performance and durability assessment of electrolyser components could envisage a collaboration with JRC in order to support the EU-wide harmonisation of testing protocols to benchmark performance and quantify technology progress. Where possible, the collaboration with JRC could include electrolyser component testing.
The scope of this project is to install and operate a 100 MW electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen, as energy carrier or as a feedstock. Specific activities are:
The main activity will consist of:
Other activities will consist of economic, safety, social/societal impact and environmental assessments:
The project should help develop a European value chain by building on technology and business concepts developed by European companies.
Mandatory knowledge sharing activity:
To ensure that projects jointly contribute to energy system integration, and create synergies and supply chains for Hydrogen, through synergies between, and to enhance the visibility of H2020 supported actions, projects are requested to reserve a small part of their funding to such cooperation.
The knowledge to be shared will cover the whole project cycle including project management, procurement, permitting, construction, commissioning, performance, cost level and cost per unit performance, environmental impacts, health and safety, as well as needs for further research and development.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 25 - 30 million would allow the specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts. Due to the nature of the supported developments that undertake innovation activities in a market environment, funding rate is reduced to 50%. Funding for proposals being part of a larger project will be related to the eligible costs based on the innovative part of the project. The topic aims to support different electrolysis technologies.
Projects should have a duration of 5 years, with at least 2 years of operation. Capital equipment can be amortised outside the 5 years of the grant duration.
Combination with other EU or national financing instruments will be incentivised, namely the usage of financial instruments to de-risk the operational activity, covering the hydrogen off-take in particular in the ramping-up of the project. The grid connection costs, building costs and the electricity costs for the commissioning phase are eligible for funding. Electricity costs during demonstration / business operation are not eligible.
The project has to include a clear go/no go decision point ahead of entering the deployment phase. Before this go/no go decision point, the project has to deliver detailed engineering plans, a complete business and implementation plan and all the required permits for the deployment of the project. A committee of independent experts will assess all deliverables and will give advice on the go/no go decision.
The proposed topic of the call for proposals is expected to have the following impacts:
Operational and environmental impacts:
Cost competitiveness impacts:
Additional end study impacts addressed directly to the European Commission:
Proposals are expected to bring the technologies from TRL 6/7 to TRL 8 at the end of the project.