Innovation Fund announces new calls for innovative low-carbon projects


In 2020, the EU launched its Innovation Fund for European energy and climate projects, supported by a budget of 38 billion euros to fund high-potential, high-impact innovations. Two brand-new calls for proposals are now being prepared. Will you be among the contenders?

About the Innovation Fund

The EU’s ambitious Innovation Fund runs from 2020 to 2030. Its total budget of 38 billion euros will be used to support innovative energy and climate projects focusing on:

  • renewable energy generation
  • energy storage
  • low-carbon technologies/processes in energy-intensive industries
  • substitutes for carbon-intensive products/processes
  • CCU & CCS (carbon capture and utilisation/storage).

The fund focuses primarily on new, close-to-the-market innovations. These are mainly demonstration projects and pilot projects (excluding exploratory research). Projects may be based in an EU Member State, Norway, or Iceland.

Two new calls for proposals

The Innovation Fund launches official calls for proposals. Two new calls are currently being prepared. These calls are aiming for:

  • large-scale innovation projects (above 7.5 million euros) – expected application period: from November 2022 to March 2023
  • ‘small-scale’ innovation projects (below 7.5 million euros) – expected application period: from April 2023 to September 2023.

Large-scale projects: what has changed?

The two new Innovation Fund calls have not yet been officially published. However, we can reveal that there will be some important changes to the large-scale projects. For example, the new round will have a budget of 3 billion euros, a doubling compared to the previous round. In addition, we wish to point out that the new round is also open to the ‘resubmission’ of projects that were not successful in the previous round. This will offer applicants a chance to improve their earlier project and submit it again. But of course, completely new projects are welcome too.

Although the new call for proposals has a broad scope, it specifically mentions these three focus areas:

  • innovative electrification and hydrogen applications in industry
  • innovative clean tech manufacturing (such as electrolysers and fuel cells, innovative renewable equipment, energy storage or heat pumps for industrial uses)
  • mid-sized pilot projects for validating, testing and optimising highly innovative solutions.

Funding from the Innovation Fund can amount to 60% of the relevant project costs.

Looking for new success stories

The two new calls mentioned above are a continuation of an ongoing success story. This story has been successful not only for climate innovation itself, but also for EGEN. In July, the European Union approved 17 Innovation Fund applications for large-scale projects. EGEN’s parent company PNO Group accounts for 7 of the 17 approved applications: over 40%! The total investment of the EU for that call amounted to 1.8 billion euros.

And in all cases, these are innovations that can make a long-lasting contribution to the European climate and energy transition. You can imagine that our experts are extremely proud of this!

We wish to stress here that the Innovation Fund is an important instrument for boosting innovations in the field of renewable hydrogen. No fewer than three Dutch hydrogen projects recently received funding:

  • Holland Hydrogen: on the Maasvlakte industrial facility, part of the Rotterdam port complex, Shell is building a 200-megawatt electrolysis plant. The electricity for the production of green hydrogen is sourced from the offshore wind farm Hollandse Kust (North).
  • FUREC: energy company RWE processes non-recyclable solid waste streams and converts them into hydrogen.
  • ELYgator: Air Liquide, leading provider of gases, is investing in a 200-megawatt electrolysis plant in the province of Zeeland. The facility will supply 15,500 tonnes of green hydrogen annually.

Applying for funding: tips and tricks

What tips and tricks do we have for interested parties and contenders? We asked Mark Broekman, Managing Director of EGEN: ‘By now, we have acquired quite a bit of knowledge and experience with the applications we made in earlier rounds. We know what is expected and what is important. Before you start, for example, you have to think carefully about the project scope and the appropriate project category. And of course, your project must be impeccable and balanced in all respects. This includes not only an optimal and ‘flawless’ project plan, but also important annexes such as Green House Gas Emission calculations, a sound business plan and a detailed project implementation plan with clear milestones.’

The Innovation Fund is looking for large-scale, high-impact innovation projects, Mark Broekman stresses. ‘An application can be very rewarding, but it also takes a lot of time. It is therefore essential to start preparing your application right now.’

Interested? Don’t wait – take action!

Is your company working on energy or climate innovation? Submit your plans to our experts as soon as possible. We will be happy to assist you in preparing your Innovation Fund application in time, increasing your chances of success! Interested? Call us or use the form below.

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