Nine hydrogen valleys to repower Europe

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership, a public-private partnership supporting research and innovation activities in hydrogen technologies in Europe under the Horizon Europe Programme, has announced it will invest €105.4 million for funding nine hydrogen valley projects across Europe, following its first call proposals in 2022.

Illustration; Archive; Courtesy of Clean Hydrogen Partnership
Illustration / Courtesy of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership

According to the partnership, whose members are the European Commission, fuel cell and hydrogen industries represented by Hydrogen Europe, and the research community represented by Hydrogen Europe Research, the projects will now start negotiations for their grant agreements, which are expected to be concluded before the summer.

The projects, expected to be able to mobilise investments of at least five times the funding provided by the EU or above €0.5 billion, focus on the production of clean hydrogen and address a variety of applications in the energy, transport, and industry sectors.

To note, the European Commission allocated an additional €200 million to the Clean Hydrogen Partnership through REPowerEU, to benefit the hydrogen valleys.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth, said: “I congratulate the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and the selected hydrogen valleys for supporting the path to a leading and competitive European economy.”

“The results of the call show a strong mobilisation across Europe, North, South, East, and West, and a clear demonstration of the alignment of strategies and the use of synergies between public and private funding. We need it to build a Hydrogen Research and Innovation Union.”

Melyssa Verykios, Chair of the Governing Board of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, stated: “We couldn’t be more thrilled and proud at the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, to witness the Hydrogen Valley vision that was captured a few years back, materialise on a multiplying and growing hydrogen ecosystem at such timely fashion.”

“These nine valleys will be planting the seeds of the envisioned hydrogen economy, incubating hydrogen valley hubs simultaneously at several EU MS, interconnecting and transitioning them into a growth value chain at scale.”

Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, said: “The decision to provide funding for nine hydrogen valleys shows the EU’s commitment to accelerate the implementation of hydrogen technologies in order to realize the ambitious goals of the Green Deal and REPowerEU. These projects will benefit regions, local authorities, industry, and Europe’s citizens who need a new, greener, smarter economy.”

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership said it has already started the grant preparations for two flagship hydrogen valleys.

The first will be spread across the North Adriatic area, comprising Croatia, the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy, and Slovenia, and the second aims to build a hydrogen corridor across Baltic Sea countries, including Estonia and South Finland.

Stephen Taylor, Director of Research and Innovation at Area Science Park and Coordinator of the Project Proposal Team of the Joint Working Group for the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley, welcomed the selection by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, adding: “We are looking forward to starting the negotiations for the EU grant agreement and we hope to kickstart this exciting and important project as soon as possible.”

The partnership, led by the Slovenian electricity producer HSE and supported by ECUBES, includes 34 organisations from the government, research, and industry, and covers the entire value chain from production through storage and distribution to the final end use of hydrogen as a key energy vector in multiple sectors. The amount of financing requested through the Clean Hydrogen Partnership is €25 million.

The other transnational hydrogen valley gathers 44 organisations from regions around the Baltic Sea, and the amount of financing requested through the partnership is €25 million.

In addition, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership has started the grant preparations for seven smaller-scale hydrogen valleys projects, focusing on areas of Europe with no or limited presence of H2 valleys. The valleys will comprise regions in Bulgaria (Stara Zagora), Greece (Crete and Corinthia), Ireland (Galway), Italy (Lombardy), Turkey (South Marmara), and Luxembourg.

Hydrogen valleys are regional ecosystems that link hydrogen production, transportation, and various end uses such as mobility or industrial feedstock.

According to the partnership, this concept has gained momentum and is now one of the main priorities of industry and the European Commission for scaling-up hydrogen deployments and creating interconnected hydrogen ecosystems across Europe.

Earlier in January, the Clean Hydrogen Partnership launched its 2023 call for proposals for the development of clean hydrogen technologies.

Related Article

Follow Offshore Energy’s Clean Fuel on social media: