Innovation Fund Call Net Zero Technologies 2023-2024: €4 billion to support innovative decarbonisation technologies 

The European Commission has just opened the Innovation Fund’s 2023 call for proposals with a record budget of €4 billion to support the deployment of innovative decarbonisation technologies. In fact, the call will close on the 9th of April 2024.

This call doubles the budget allocated for cleantech manufacturing projects with €1.4 billion available for projects targeting industrial manufacturing capacity, technology leadership and supply chain resilience in Europe

The call is divided into five different topics with different budget and capital expenditure (CAPEX) requirements: 

  • General decarbonisation (large-scale) – €1.7 billion available for projects with CAPEX above €100 million
  • General decarbonisation (medium-scale) – €500 million available for projects with CAPEX between €20 million and €100 million
  • General decarbonisation (small-scale) – €200 million available for projects with CAPEX between €2.5 million and €20 million
  • Cleantech manufacturing – €1.4 billion available for projects with CAPEX above €2.5 million focusing on the manufacturing of components for renewable energy, energy storage, heat pumps and hydrogen production
  • Pilot – €200 million available for projects with CAPEX above €2.5 million focusing on deep decarbonisation.

It is worth mentioning that the Innovatio nFund is also open to non-EU entities as long as the projects are located in the EEA. Projects from the maritime, road transport and buildings sectors, are for the first time eligible. 

The projects selected are expected to kick off in the first quarter of 2025. 

Background

What are the key figures and statistics from Innovation Fund previous calls?

The Innovation Fund focuses on funding cutting-edge European initiatives and technologies that have the potential to significantly reduce emissions. The programme is designed to distribute the risk across project sponsors and promote ground-breaking, first-of-its-kind decarbonisation projects.

The Fund seeks to finance a diverse project pipeline by striking the best possible balance between a variety of cutting-edge technologies in all eligible industries and nations. Projects must be located in the EU members, Iceland, Norway, and Lichtenstein but applications from entities based outside these countries are eligible.

How much funding is available under the Innovation Fund?

The entire financing for the Innovation Fund is dependent on the price of carbon; if the carbon price is €75/tCO2, it may reach roughly €40 billion from 2020 to 2030. In reality, the EU ETS’s Innovation Fund permits are auctioned off in accordance with a predetermined timetable, and the money acquired is then utilized to fund the best projects.

Who were the winners under the Innovation Fund previous calls?

The European Commission has released comprehensive and well detailed statistics of the Innovation Fund programme from 2021-2022.

With a total budget worth more than €3B, 69 projects have been funded in this period with 161 participants and an average of 2 participants per project.

The following diagram shows the different funded sectors, where hydrogen is the top area (10 projects, 14.5% of the projects), followed by Glass, Ceramics and construction (7 projects, 10.1%).

 Awarded Projects per Sector Innovation Fund results 2021-22

Figure 1. Awarded Projects per Sector. Source: Innovation Fund Project Portfolio.

In terms of project duration, there is a very dispersed distribution as it can be seen in the following diagram.

Awarded Projects per Project Duration Innovation Fund results 2021-22

Figure 2. Awarded Projects per Project Duration. Source: Innovation Fund Project Portfolio.

Regarding the participant’s legal status, most of the awardees were private institutions (93.2%), and the remaining 6.8% of the awarded participants belonged to public organizations. SMEs represented an important share of the participants (17.8%).

Participant Legal Status Innovation Fund results 2021-22

Figure 3. Participant Legal Status. Source: Innovation Fund Project Portfolio.

Percentage of SMEs Innovation Fund results 2021-22

Figure 4. Percentage of SMEs. Source: Innovation Fund Project Portfolio.

France stands as the leading country (15 projects, 17%), followed by Spain (12 projects, 13.6%), Sweden (10 projects, 11.4%) and Germany (9 projects 10.2%).

Awarded Projects per Country Innovation Fund results 2021-22

Figure 5. Awarded Projects per Country. Source: Innovation Fund Project Portfolio.

Awarded Projects per Country Innovation Fund results 2021-22

Figure 6. Awarded Projects per Country. Source: Innovation Fund Project Portfolio.

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