Grant information


closed    Opened: 30 March 2022   |   Closes: 31 May 2022

Overview

Electrolyser and fuel cell technologies have reached a level of maturity but still depend heavily on critical raw materials (CRM) in their key components, including platinum group metals (PGM). The outcome of this topic, based on the excellence and expertise of European research, is expected to support European industry in their future development of next generation electrolysers and fuel cells comprising sustainable and recycled materials components and avoiding use of materials of high level of criticality. This topic is a Strategic and Research Challenge [1] expected to contribute to achieving the SRIA targets for electrolysers and fuel cells with radically different and sustainable materials technologies and is a pioneering venture internationally to achieve the ambitious goals of these technologies for European industry at lower environmental cost. This topic will also contribute to advancing European efforts in the Mission Innovation 2.0 - Clean Hydrogen Mission.

Critical materials considered in the topic include both the critical raw materials as defined by the European Union's most recent assessment of CRM [2] and materials with sustainability or environmental concerns, such as those deriving from poly/perfluoroalkyls. Such critical raw materials are considered ‘strategic dependencies’ in the area of hydrogen technologies.[3]

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Contribute to a sustainable and durable EU component supply chain by reducing the CRM content, notably of rare earth metals, PGMs and cobalt, in electrolysers and fuel cells, and by developing replacement materials free of CRMs or environmentally unacceptable or non-sustainable components [4];
  • Contribute to increasing the yield of ionomer and CRMs recovered from used cells and membrane electrode assemblies and from scraps and wastes by recycling;
  • While keeping at least the same performance and durability as SoA in the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA, contribute to achieving the PGM reduction target levels of the SRIA for AEM, PEM and alkaline electrolysers and PEMFC for 2024 and beyond, and to reducing the amount of non-recoverable rare earth CRM in catalysts and electrolytes by at least 50% of the current (2021) rare earth CRM content in solid oxide and proton conducting ceramic electrolysers and fuel cells;
  • Develop at least three innovative solutions for each technology (PEM, AEM, AEL, PCC and SOC) for further prioritisation and development in specific dedicated RIAs of the Clean Hydrogen JU.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following objectives of the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA:

  • Low or free PGM catalysts and reducing critical raw materials in electrolysers and fuel cells according to the following KPIs: 
    • For PEMEL catalysts: 1.25 mgCRM/W in 2024 and 0.25 mgCRM/W in 2030
    • For AEL catalysts: 0.3 mgCRM/W in 2024 and CRM-free catalysts in 2030
    • For AEMEL catalysts: 0.4 mgCRM/W in 2024 and CRM-free catalysts in 2030
    • For fuel cell catalysts for HDV: < 0.3 gPGM/kW in 2024 and <0.25 gPGM/kW in 2030
  • Develop enhanced recovery processes for PGMs/CRMs in hydrogen-based technologies, for instance: 
    • 0.07 g/kWel in 2024 and 0.01 g/kWel in 2030 of non-recoverable CRM (i.e. Pt) as catalyst for low-temperature PEMFC in stationary applications
  • AEL: reach high current density without noble metals;
  • PEMEL: Reduce precious metals content in catalysts and consider recycling, develop PGM-free catalysts, develop new/advanced membranes.
  • Research at material level for PEMFC to reduce or replace PGM loading;
  • Reducing use of critical raw materials in stationary fuel cells;
  • Research to optimise the CRM and ionomer recycling from FC and electrolysers at end-of-life and processes from scraps and wastes: 
    • minimum 30% in 2024 and 50% in 2030 of recycled CRM/PGM (other than Pt) at the system level;
    • minimum 95% in 2024 and 99% in 2030 of Pt recycled from FC/electrolysers at end-of-life;
    • minimum 70% in 2024 and 80% in 2030 of ionomer recycled from FC/electrolysers at end-of-life.
  • Minimisation of environmental impact/aim for circularity (energy, resources/material, recyclability).

Scope

A robust supply chain based on validated sustainable materials and components will ensure that the competitiveness of European electrolyser and fuel cell industry is not compromised by future legislative or supply constraints. Some of the current fuel cell and electrolyser technologies have developed from historically niche applications where reliability and performance were deemed more important than long-term sustainability, use of critical raw materials or even cost. This has led to the use of CRM in catalysts, electrolytes, coatings and bipolar plates at levels that are not sustainable over the long term, in the absence of robust separation and recycling routes. It has also led to ubiquitous recourse to ionomer membranes based on perfluoro sulfonic acid electrolytes, novel recycling and validated re-use routes of which are essential.

These materials are critically important in providing the requested high levels of performance and durability of state-of-the-art fuel cells and electrolysers. Breakthrough research is required to find alternatives in order to guarantee the development of a secure and clean hydrogen economy in Europe. To date, focus on reducing precious metals loading has been on reduction or replacement of platinum in proton exchange membrane fuel cells. However, these are only two aspects of a much broader requirement to address the sustainability of the critical materials used with a view to their replacement, reduction and/or recycle/re-use.

This topic addresses the sustainability of the fuel cell and electrolyser component supply chain by the development of technical advancements in (i) replacement of the critical (raw) materials currently used in fuel cells and electrolysers (ii) reduction in the amount of CRM used (iii) developing recycling approaches for materials critical for fuel cells and electrolysers, including novel means of dissociating and separating components.

The following items are within the scope of this topic, which comprise both low and high temperature electrolyser and fuel cell technologies:

  • Development, characterisation and validation of novel materials free of critical raw materials (according to the European Union's 2020 CRM list), non-sustainable or environmentally unacceptable components, or with reduced content of such critical materials or components in fuel cells and electrolysers to levels consistent with the SRIA targets without compromising their performance and durability;
  • Development of innovative materials, coatings, processing routes, electrode architectures and cell designs to reduce platinum group metal and other CRMs loading in electrolysers and fuel cells;
  • Development of breakthrough high-efficiency solutions for recycling the critical materials and critical components of fuel cells and electrolysers, including associated separation steps, with focus on recycling of perfluoro sulfonic acid ionomers for reuse, and on recycling of iridium. Industrially mature technologies are already in use for platinum recycling, however, solutions designed to reduce the potential environmental impact of non-Pt components of a Pt alloy (for instance, non-exclusively, Ni and Co) within the recycle stream are within the topic scope;
  • Lifecycle analyses of the most prospective new technology/ies to demonstrate the sustainability of the proposed solutions.

The development of characterisation and test methods and protocols for evaluation of new and recycled materials and of complete cells is considered within the scope of the topic, however alignment should be made with those in use to qualify current state-of-the-art materials (i.e. those using critical raw materials, platinum group metals and perfluoro sulfonic acid membranes and ionomers).

The novel materials or materials from an intended recycling loop should be validated for their performance and durability in single cells using, as far as possible, EU harmonised protocols (including, as relevant, tolerance to impurities) with direct comparison with the performance/durability of cells with current, state-of-the-art materials under the same conditions.

Consortia should gather comprehensive expertise and experience from the European research community to ensure broad impact by addressing several of the items above. Partners should have proven expertise and the requisite means of electrolyser and fuel cells materials development, characterisation and testing. Industrial guidance is considered essential, for instance through an industrial advisory board. Proposals should explain how the results will be exploited, and how key advances from the activities will be communicated to the broader community to ensure rapid uptake of developments by end-users. To facilitate this communication, dissemination should have high priority and most deliverables should be public. The public annual progress report should include, as necessary, recommendations for future activities.

Activities are expected to start at TRL 2 and achieve TRL 4 by the end of the project.

At least one partner in the consortium must be a member of either Hydrogen Europe or Hydrogen Europe Research.

The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 10.00 million – proposals requesting Clean Hydrogen JU contributions above this amount will not be evaluated.

The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter 2.2.3.2 of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2022 Annual Work Plan and in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021–2022 which apply mutatis mutandis.

[1]For definition of Strategic Research Challenges see section 3.9.of the Clean Hydrogen JU Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda 2021 – 2027

[2]COM(2020) 474 - Critical Raw Materials Resilience: Charting a Path towards greater Security and Sustainability https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52020DC0474

[3]https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/strategic-dependencies-capacities.pdf

[4]COM(2020) 667 final , EU chemical strategy for sustainability, https://ec.europa.eu/environment/strategy/chemicals-strategy_en

General Conditions

  1. Admissibility conditions:described inAnnex A and Annex E of the Horizon Europe Work Programme General Annexes

 Proposal page limits and layout: described in Part B of the Application Form available in the Submission System

 Additional condition: For all Innovation Actions the page limit of the applications are 70 pages.

  1. Eligible countries:described inAnnex B of the Work Programme General Annexes

A number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon Europe projects. See the information in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.

 

  1.  Other eligibility conditions:described in Annex B of the Work Programme General Annexes

Additional eligibility condition: Maximum contribution per topic

For some topics, in line with the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA, an additional eligibility criterion has been introduced to limit the Clean Hydrogen JU requested contribution mostly for actions performed at high TRL level, including demonstration in real operation environment and with important involvement from industrial stakeholders and/or end users such as public authorities. Such actions are expected to leverage co-funding as commitment from stakeholders. It is of added value that such leverage is shown through the private investment in these specific topics. Therefore, proposals requesting contributions above the amounts specified per each topic below will not be evaluated:

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-01-07 - The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 9.00 million

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-03-03 - The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 30.00 million

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-03-05 - The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 15.00 million

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-04-01 - The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 7.00 million

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-06-01 - The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 25.00 million

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-06-02 - The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 8.00 million

 Additional eligibility condition: Membership to Hydrogen Europe/Hydrogen Europe Research

For some topics, in line with the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA, an additional eligibility criterion has been introduced to ensure that one partner in the consortium is a member of either Hydrogen Europe or Hydrogen Europe Research. This concerns topics targeting actions for large-scale demonstrations, flagship projects and strategic research actions, where the industrial and research partners of the Clean Hydrogen JU are considered to play a key role in accelerating the commercialisation of hydrogen technologies by being closely linked to the Clean Hydrogen JU constituency, which could further ensure full alignment with the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda of the Industry and the SRIA188 of the JU. This approach shall also ensure the continuity of the work performed within projects funded through the H2020 and FP7, by building up on their experience and consolidating the EU value-chain. This applies to the following topics: 

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-07

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-08

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-10

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -02-08

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-03

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-05

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -04-01

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -06-01

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -06-02

 - HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -07-01

 Additional eligibility condition: Participation of African countries

For one topic the following additional eligibility criteria have been introduced to allow African countries to i) participate in proposal, ii) be eligible for funding and iii) ensure a sufficient geographical coverage of the African continent. This concerns the following topic: 

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -05-5

Manufacturing Readiness Assessment

For some topics a definition of Manufacturing Readiness Level has been introduced in the Annexes of the Annual Work Programme. This is necessary to evaluate the status of the overall manufacturing activities included in the following topics:

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-04

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -04-01

  1. Financial and operational capacity and exclusion:described in Annex C of the Work Programme General Annexes
  2. Evaluation and award:
  • Award criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex D of the Work Programme General Annexes
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in Annex F of the Work Programme General Annexes and the Online Manua

Exemption to evaluation procedure: complementarity of projects

For some topics in order to ensure a balanced portfolio covering complementary approaches, grants will be awarded to applications not only in order of ranking but at least also to one additional project that is / are complementary, provided that the applications attain all thresholds

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-03

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-04

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-09

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -02-10

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-01

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-02

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-04

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -04-04

Seal of Excellence

For two topics the ‘Seal of Excellence’ will be awarded to applications exceeding all of the evaluation thresholds set out in this Annual Work Programme but cannot be funded due to lack of budget available to the call. This will further improve the chances of good proposals, otherwise not selected, to find alternative funding in other Union programmes, including those managed by national or regional Managing Authorities. With prior authorisation from the applicant, the Clean Hydrogen JU may share information concerning the proposal and the evaluation with interested financing authorities, subject to the conclusion of confidentiality agreements. In this Annual Work Programme ‘Seal of Excellence’ will be piloted for topics:

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -06-01

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -06-02

  • Indicative timeline for evaluation and grant agreement: described in Annex F of the Work Programme General Annexes
  1. Legal and financial set-up of the grants: described in Annex G of the Work Programme General Annexes

In addition to the standard provisions, the following specific provisions in the model grant agreement will apply:

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), background and results, access rights and rights of use (article 16 and Annex 5 of the Model Grant Agreement (MGA)).

  • An additional information obligation has been introduced for topics including standardisation activities: ‘Beneficiaries must, up to 4 years after the end of the action, inform the granting authority if the results could reasonably be expected to contribute to European or international standards’. These concerns the topics below:

Additional information obligation for topics including standardisation activities

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -02-09

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-04

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -05-02

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -05-03

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -05-04

  • For all topics in this Work Programme Clean Hydrogen JU shall have the right to object to transfers of ownership of results, or to grants of an exclusive licence regarding results, if: (a) the beneficiaries which generated the results have received Union funding; (b) the transfer or licensing is to a legal entity established in a non-associated third country; and (c) the transfer or licensing is not in line with Union interests. The grant agreement shall contain a provision in this respect.

Full capitalised costs for purchases of equipment, infrastructure or other assets purchased specifically for the action

For some topics, in line with the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA, mostly large-scale demonstrators or flagship projects specific equipment, infrastructure or other assets purchased specifically for the action (or developed as part of the action tasks) can exceptionally be declared as full capitalised costs. This concerns the topics below:

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-07: electrolyser and other hydrogen related equipment essential for implementation of the project, (e.g. compression of hydrogen, storage and any essential end-use technology)

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-08: electrolyser, its BoP and any other hydrogen related equipment essential for the implementation of the project (e.g. hydrogen storage)

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -01-10: electrolyser, its BOP and any other hydrogen related equipment essential for implementation of the project (e.g. offshore infrastructure, renewable electricity supply infrastructure, storages, pipelines and other auxiliaries required to convey and utilise the hydrogen)

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -02-08: compression prototype/s and related components

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-03: trucks, fuel cell system, on-board hydrogen storage and other components needed in a hydrogen truck

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -03-05: vessels, fuel cell system, on-board hydrogen storage and other components needed in a hydrogen fuel cell hydrogen vessel

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -04-01: manufacturing equipment and tooling

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -06-01: hydrogen production plant, distribution and storage infrastructure and hydrogen end-uses

- HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022 -06-02: hydrogen production plant, distribution and storage infrastructure and hydrogen end-uses

Specific conditions

  1. Specific conditions:described in thechapter 2.2.3.2 of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2022 Annual Work Plan

Documents

Call documents:

Application form — As well available in the Submission System from March 31st 2022

Application form - Part B (HE CleanH2 RIA, IA)

Application form - Part B (HE CleanH2 CSA)

 Evaluation forms

Evaluation form (HE RIA, IA)

Evaluation form (HE CSA)

 Model Grant Agreement (MGA)

HE General MGA v1.0  

 Clean Hydrogen JU - Annual Work Programme 2022 (AWP 2022)

AWP 2022

 Clean Hydrogen JU - Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) 

SRIA - Clean Hydrogen JU 

Additional documents:

HE Main Work Programme 2021–2022 – 1. General Introduction

HE Main Work Programme 2021–2022 – 13. General Annexes

HE Programme Guide

HE Framework Programme and Rules for Participation Regulation 2021/695

HE Specific Programme Decision 2021/764

EU Financial Regulation

Rules for Legal Entity Validation, LEAR Appointment and Financial Capacity Assessment

EU Grants AGA — Annotated Model Grant Agreement

Funding & Tenders Portal Online Manual

Funding & Tenders Portal Terms and Conditions

Funding & Tenders Portal Privacy Statement

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