The Clean Hydrogen Partnership (CHP), a public-private body that manages grants from EU research and innovation funding scheme Horizon Europe for H2 projects, has today opened a call for proposals worth €113.5m ($123.6m).

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However, this is more than 40% lower than the €195m offered in last year’s call, and will support six fewer projects than in 2023.

In addition to having less available funding for projects dealing with renewable H2 production, storage, distribution, and end use in transport or heat and power (see table), the CHP is also not offering funding this year for “strategic research challenges”, which last year focused on more sustainable materials for storage and reducing electrolyser stack degradation.

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership’s available funding per research area between 2023 and 2024

Research Theme

Number of available projects (2024)

Number of available projects (2023)

Budget (2024)

Budget (2023)

Renewable hydrogen production

5

7

€25m

€49m

Hydrogen storage and distribution

5

5

€27m

€36m

Transport

4

3

€19m

€25.5m

Heat and power

2

4

€9m

€19m

“Cross-cutting”, ie multiple applications

2

3

€4.5m

€7.5m

Hydrogen Valleys

2

2

€29m*

€38m*

Strategic research challenges

0

2

N/A

€20m

*topped up by the European Commission
Source: Clean Hydrogen Partnership

CHP tells Hydrogen Insight that this lower amount of funding available for 2024 is because it had front-loaded its 2021-2027 budget, which has not changed, for calls in 2022 and 2023.

While the CHP offers €29m specifically for so-called Hydrogen Valleys — ie, hubs capable of producing at least 5,000 tonnes a year — it notes that as was the case last year, the European Commission could top this up from a €200m funding commitment, with up to €60m available in 2024 to ensure that two hubs are funded.

The CHP has also decided to issue lump-sum grants, rather than the previous mechanism based on reimbursement of costs over time. However, these will not be available upfront, but will be given out based on the completion of work packages.

The call in 2023 was massively oversubscribed with a total of 132 applications for 26 possible projects. While a flash evaluation whittled this down to 73 projects, these still requested a combined €382m.

However, while the evaluation results at the end of July last year suggested the first grants would be agreed in December, there have not been any further updates on whether these have been signed.

Updated to include explanation for lower amount of available funding by CHP and to correct implication that this was a budget cut rather than the consequences of front-loading the 2021-2027 budget.