New Innovation Fund call for large-scale projects

In 2020, the EU launched its Innovation Fund for European energy and climate projects. During the period 2020-2030, the fund will make approximately 38 billion euros available for promising and impactful innovations. On November 3rd, a new funding round started for ‘large-scale projects’: projects with a size of at least 7.5 million euros investment costs. Will you be among the contenders?

About the Innovation Fund

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

  • renewable energy generation
  • energy storage
  • low-carbon technologies for 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 and mid-scale pilots. These are mainly first-of-a-kind commercialisation projects and pilot projects (excluding exploratory research). Projects must be based in an EU Member State, Norway, or Iceland.

New call for large-scale projects

On November 3rd, the European Commission launched its third call for ‘large-scale projects’ – projects with a size of at least 7.5 million euros investment costs. The deadline for submitting project proposals is March 16th, 2023.

Large-scale projects: what has changed?

This third call for large-scale projects shows some important changes. For example, the new round will have a budget of 3 billion euros, almost a doubling compared to the previous round. In addition, 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. PNO can use its internal benchmark and best practices to improve sections that have not been evaluated well in the previous call. But of course, completely new projects are welcome too.

The new call for proposals specifically mentions these four focus areas:

  • general decarbonisation: for innovative projects in renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage or carbon capture, use, and storage, as well as products substituting carbon-intensive ones (budget 1 billion euros)
  • innovative electrification and hydrogen applications in industry (budget 1 billion euros)
  • innovative clean tech manufacturing (such as electrolysers and fuel cells, innovative renewable equipment, energy storage or heat pumps for industrial uses) (budget 0.7 billion euros)
  • mid-sized pilot projects for validating, testing and optimising highly innovative solutions for deep decarbonisation (budget 0.3 billion euros).

Another important change is that the call focuses less on big flagship projects and more on innovation and scalability.

Funding from the Innovation Fund remains at 60% of the relevant project costs without any maximum grant amount. Therefore, the grant remains attractive for bigger projects.

Looking for new success stories

The new calls for proposals is a continuation of an ongoing success story. This story has been successful not only for climate innovation itself, but also for PNO Chemistry. In July, the European Union approved 17 Innovation Fund applications for large-scale projects. PNO Chemistry’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.

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!

Some of the interesting projects funded by the Innovation Fund to boost innovation are highlighted here:

  • PULSE: will deploy a first-of-a-kind proprietary technology enabling the processing of large quantities of liquefied plastics waste into drop-in petrochemical feeds that can replace virgin fossil feeds, e.g. naphtha, in the production of plastics and chemicals.
  • K6 Program: aims to produce the first carbon-neutral cement in Europe, becoming a representative project for the cement industry worldwide and supporting the clean energy transition of a hard-to-abate sector.
  • FUREC: energy company RWE processes non-recyclable solid waste streams and converts them into hydrogen.

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!

We would like to point out that a new call for proposals is also coming up for ‘small-scale projects’ (less than 7.5 million euros). The application period is expected to run from April to September 2023.

Interested? Please do not hesitate to contact us.