Innovation Fund picks up the pace

The European ‘Innovation Fund’ for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies is really starting to pick up the pace. This facility of the European Commission is of great importance for the chemical sector and related process industry. The application round for large-scale innovation projects closed in early March and a new round for small-scale innovation projects starts at the end of this month. This article reflects briefly on the recent application round and, more importantly, looks ahead to the next round, which is fast approaching.

About the ‘Innovation Fund’

The Innovation Fund (IF) runs from 2020 to 2030 and has a grant budget of over 10 billion euro financed from the EU emission trading system. This makes it one of the world’s largest funds for climate and energy innovations.

The fund supports innovative projects involved in:

  • innovative low-carbon technologies and processes in energy-intensive industries (including products substituting carbon-intensive ones)
  • carbon capture utilisation/storage (CC(U)S)
  • renewable energy generation
  • energy storage.

The focus is on technology and process innovations in energy-intensive industries , such as chemistry, and particularly on innovations that are almost ready for the market (i.e. in the form of a pilot or demonstration project). Projects may be implemented in EU member states, Norway or Iceland.

Recent large-scale project application round

The Innovation Fund works with official application rounds (‘calls for proposals’). The most recent round closed on 3 March 2022 and concerned large-scale climate projects (of over 7.5 million euro). No fewer than 138 large projects were submitted and those involved are eagerly awaiting news of their application. The latter also applies to the PNO Group staff, as our consultants were actively involved in 17 different applications. The application amount for all submitted projects within this round of grants amounted to over 12 billion euro with 1.5 billion euro available in the budget.

New call for small-scale innovation projects starts at the end of March…

The Innovation Fund is now finalising the next application round, which starts on 31 March 2022. The round focuses on ‘small-scale’ projects; those with a project budget (CAPEX) of between 2.5 million and 7.5 million euro! The new call round will prioritise new, high-impact  innovation projects for low-carbon technologies.

Although not all details are known, it is expected that the new call will again focus on the four main themes mentioned above. The first two themes in particular are very interesting to many chemical companies. For example, PNO Chemistry sees good opportunities for projects in the areas of:

  • electrification of processes that are operated at high temperatures
  • hydrogen from renewable energy with various applications in chemistry
  • circular sources as feedstock for hydrocarbons
  • chemical conversion of biobased raw materials
  • the use of CO(2) as feedstock
  • innovative storage of CO2 (CCS)
  • new molecules for new functionality, designed for recycling
  • radical new processes and materials with low impact and suitable for various applications such as in renewable energy production.

…and the closing date is fast-approaching!

All interested parties should be aware of the short deadline: the new round of grants is only open for a short time, until the end of August 2022. Our experts have vast experience with the Innovation Fund, which is important as the competition is huge. The previous application round for ‘small scale’ projects resulted in 232 grant applications, which means the available budget was ten times oversubscribed.

Want to know more?

Are you working on innovations that are in line with the above themes? And are you wondering whether your project is eligible for a grant? PNO Chemistry has a great deal of experience with the Innovation Fund and other grants for innovation and investment projects. ? Our consultants are happy to tell you more. If you are interested, please do not hesitate to contact us.