EU countries are subsidizing 5.4 billion euros for research into the use of hydrogen

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Fifteen EU countries will invest 5.4 billion euros in research into the production and use of hydrogen. The research focuses on the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen. Belgium and the Netherlands, among others, are participating in the project.

The European Commission expects that with the project more efficient electrode materials, better fuel cells and innovative transport systems are being devised. The Ipcei Hy2Tech project focuses on the mobility sector and should create around twenty thousand jobs. The countries themselves will subsidize 5.4 billion euros and Europe expects companies and other parties to invest another 8.8 billion euros.

35 companies that are active in one or more EU countries are participating in the project. These companies have 41 hydrogen projects for which they are going or want to receive a subsidy. The project is an Ipcei, which stands for an Important Project of Common European Interest. This means that the countries may provide state aid, in this case because innovation in hydrogen can be risky for one country or company and that international cooperation is therefore necessary.

According to the European Commission, the aid is limited to what is necessary and proportionate. In the event that a project turns out to be very successful and makes a profit, companies will refund part of the subsidy. The results of the projects are also shared by the participating companies, so that research institutions and other companies can also benefit from them. Research institutes and universities also work together with the companies that receive a subsidy.

There are two companies that are active in Belgium and receive a subsidy through the project. Cummins and John Cockerill are both working on hydrogen making projects. In the Netherlands, Nedstack receives a subsidy for fuel cells. This company, which was founded by AkzoNobel, wants to make semi-automated fuel cells for the maritime sector, among others. The company wants to be able to produce 1GW of fuel cells annually. The company wants to start production in 2023, and in 2026 this must be scaled up to 1 GW annually.

The European Commission has not yet announced how much subsidy individual companies will receive. The documents may contain confidential information, which must first be checked by the European Commission and Member States. Once this is clear, it will be known how many subsidy companies will receive.

The Dutch government is planning to grant a 21.7 million euro subsidy to Nedstack. The company expects this to be final in the summer. The Dutch cabinet also announces that it wants to make 1.3 billion euros available for new hydrogen projects in the next two waves of the Ipcei. The second wave is about the decarbonisation of the industry, the third wave is about imports and infrastructure. A fourth wave will come later, focusing on mobility and transport. The second wave will run from 2023 to 2026, the third wave will continue for a year longer.

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