The Innovation Fund is the EU’s fund for climate policy that focuses on energy and industry. It seeks to increase industrial competitiveness while bringing to market technologies to decarbonize the European industry and support its transition to climate neutrality. It is a crucial financial tool for achieving the EU’s economy-wide obligations under the Paris Agreement.
Changes in 2023
In 2023, the EU Emissions Trading System Directive reviewed the Innovation Fund and made some key changes:
- The funding amount of the Innovation Fund has increased from 450 million ETS allowances to approximately 530 million ETS allowances,
- New sectors (such as maritime, or aviation); introduction of medium-scale projects; application of the Do Not Significant Harm (DNSH) principle from 2025; stronger reference to multiple environmental impacts,
- The introduction of new financial instruments (“Competitive Bidding”),
- Stronger attention to geographical balance, including through technical assistance to Member States with low effective participation.
Results from the last call (launched in November 2022) have been recently released in July 2023.
Latest call results
41 projects from 239 applications were awarded (17% success rate), covering a wide range of sectors to decarbonise Europe’s industry and energy. Grants totalled €3.6 billion to support projects bringing innovative technologies to the market in energy-intensive industries, hydrogen, renewable energy, and manufacturing components for energy storage and renewables.
- General decarbonization: 8 projects worth €1.4 billion,
- Industry electrification and hydrogen: 13 projects worth almost €1.2 billion,
- Clean tech manufacturing: 11 projects worth almost €800 million,
- Mid-sized pilots: 9 projects worth €250 million.
Regarding the awarded projects per country, Germany and Spain have been the ones with the highest number of winners (7 projects each, 17%), followed by the Netherlands and Norway (4 projects each, 9.75%), and Belgium and Sweden (3 projects each, 7.31%).
In terms of sectors, the most awarded ones are manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage (9 projects, 22%), followed by Hydrogen (8 projects, 19.5%), Refineries and Chemicals (6 projects each, 14.6%), Cement & Lime (5 projects, 12.2%).
The following table shows the full list of winners classified according to the different topics:
|BioOstrand: Biorefinery Östrand – The first commercial deployment of solid biomass-and-power-to- Sustainable Aviation Fuels technology line-up||Refineries||Sweden||Biorefinery Östrand AB||Design, build and operate the world’s first large-scale biorefinery to produce renewable Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and naphtha, and deploy a breakthrough Anything-to-Liquid (XTL) pathway, solid biomass gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis with an electrolysis utilising 100% renewable energy in a world-leading commercial scale biorefinery.In order to increase the hydrocarbon yield, hydrogen is added to the process, produced by an electrolyser using renewable electricity and water. This “hydrogen-boost” facilitates a more efficient use of the feedstock, by turning more carbon atoms into final product.The project will showcase a leading-edge integration of a modern advanced biofuels biorefinery with a pulp mill leading to a number of significant efficiency gains.|
First German inland cement plant Geseke becomes net carbon negative by implementing a full CCS chain
|Cement & lime||Germany||Heidelberg Materials||Realisation of a full-value chain and a full-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) project covering from source (remote cement plan) to carbon sink.|
GeZero foresees to build a new 2nd Generation Oxyfuel kiln on an industrial scale in combination with several innovations to improve the technical, economical, and environmental performance of the plant. In addition, an Air Separation Unit, a CO2 capture unit (CPU) with liquefaction and a CO2 rail-loading station to transport its captured CO2 by rail to a permanent CO2 storage site are part of the project.
The CO2 will be transported to a geological end-storage site under the North Sea. The CO2 transportation concept is Germany’s first railway-based, large-scale end-to-end CO2 logistic value chain, developed together with a rail logistics company.
Maritime supply chain of renewable liquid hydrogen from the Port of Sines in Portugal to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands
|Refineries||Portugal, Netherlands||G.D.F. International||H2Sines.Rdam will demonstrate the potential of using liquid hydrogen (LH2) to transport low-cost renewable energy from Portugal to the Netherlands via LH2 ship. The project will provide a reliable supply of 99% RED II compliant LH2, enabling decarbonisation of hard to abate mobility including heavy-duty road transport, aviation and marine transport.|
The project will construct a 400 MW electrolyser, a large-scale liquefaction plant and export facilities, and LH2 storage at the Port of Sines to deliver green LH2 via fuel cell ship to the import terminal in Rotterdam. In addition, new solar capacity will be built in Portugal, and further wind power will be sourced (via Power Purchase Agreements – PPAs).
The highly innovative LH2 ship will use hydrogen boil-off gas to fuel polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells in the propulsion system, with a cargo capacity 10 times larger than the state of the art.
IFESTOS – one of the largest carbon capture projects in Europe to enable the production of zero carbon cement & concrete and create decarbonisation synergies with regional industries
|Cement & lime||Greece||TITAN CEMENT COMPANY AE||IFESTOS is a large-scale carbon capture project in Greece.|
The project will produce zero carbon cement through the retrofitting of existing cement kilns, in combination with first- and second-generation Oxyfuel and post-combustion cryogenic capture technologies.
This project is expected to avoid roughly 98.5% of the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions, making IFESTOS one of the largest carbon capture facilities in Europe.
Captured CO2 will be liquified and transported to a permanent storage site in the Mediterranean, thus kickstarting the CCS value chain in Southern Europe and serving as a model for future large-scale integrated CCS projects.
Innovative low caRbon hydrogen and methanol productIon by large Scale carbon capture
|Cement & lime||Greece||MOTOR OIL||The IRIS project combines the production of ultra-low carbon hydrogen and methanol with the integration of point-source carbon capture on its current Steam Methane Reforming unit, electrolytic H2 production and a catalytic process of high selectivity.|
IRIS will drastically reduce the refinery’s carbon footprint while demonstrating an industrial ecosystem of ultra-low carbon hydrogen production and its utilisation as a clean energy vector.
The captured CO2 will be combined with green electrolytic H2 to produce e-methanol as a low-carbon energy carrier for mobility purposes and for other industrial usage.
|KOdeCO net zero||Cement & lime||Croatia||HOLCIM HRVATSKA DRUSTVO S OGRANICENOM ODGOVORNOSCU ZA PROIZVODNJU CEMEENTA||The project aims to create the first-of-its-kind end to end CCS chain in a cement plant in Croatia, to the 1st permanent offshore geological storage in the Mediterranean Sea.|
The project is a large-scale industrial demonstrator of Cryocap™ technology adapted to the direct capture of clinker production flue gas at the top of the preheater. This innovative solution allows electricity savings of 20%, lower harmful products and emissions, higher capture efficiency, circularity of condensate and reduced water consumption enabling net-zero cement production by 2028.
Improved calcination and carbon capture for the largest lime plant in Europe
|Cement & lime||Germany||Rheinkalk GmbH||This project’s aim is to achieve the full decarbonisation of a lime plant deploying two technological pathways: firstly, EVEREST will build 3 first-of-a-kind oxyfuel kilns and equip them with carbon capture technology and secondly, it will retrofit existing kilns for carbon capture.|
The demonstration of both pathways will accelerate decarbonisation across the lime industry and with the new combination of oxyfuel kilns with carbon capture, a new industry standard will be created for the next generation of lime plants.
Towards a carbon negative large-scale clinker plant through first-ever demonstration of a ground-breaking flue gas recirculation & concentration-based concept paired with a full CCS solution
|Cement & lime||Belgium||Holcim (Belgique) SA||The objective of the GO4ZERO project is to put into operation an innovative, pollutants free, carbon negative clinker plant coupled to a CCS solution, substantiating an important contribution to the decarbonisation of the construction industry.|
The project scope consists of an innovative design for an easy switchable concept from air to oxyfuel combustion, a novel flue gas recirculation system to concentrate CO2 kiln off-gas above 80% and to increase energy recovery from waste heat, a large-scale, energy- and cost-efficient CO2 Capture Unit (CPU), and a condensate treatment unit to eliminate pollutants.
Industry electrification and hydrogen
H2 Green Steel
|Iron & steel||Sweden||H2 Green Steel Boden Phase 1||H2 Green Steel’s “Boden Phase 1” aims to build the world’s first operational, industrial-scale green steel plant in northern Sweden.|
It will use hydrogen-based direct reduction technology (DRI) to replace the traditional coke-fuelled blast furnace route of producing iron. The production of the renewable hydrogen required for the process is integrated into the project.
Locationally, the project benefits from an oversupply of continuous renewable electricity and rail access to regionally sourced iron ore in northern Sweden.
|Hydrogen||Portugal||HYTLANTIC||GREENH2ATLANTIC will develop and demonstrate a novel, scalable and flexible 96 MW green H2 production system, using pressurised alkaline technology.|
The electricity required for the hydrogen production will be provided by additional solar power and additional wind capacity, supplied via PPA through the electricity grid.
|Chemicals||France||Elyse Energy||eM-Rhône aims to produce e-methanol using renewable hydrogen production and carbon capture and utilisation.|
Green hydrogen will be produced using an electrolyser solution supplied with renewable energy. For the carbon, the project plans to deploy Cryocap™ technology to capture CO2 from a cement plant.
TARRAGONA NETWORK HYDROGEN
|Hydrogen||Spain||REPSOL RENEWABLE AND CIRCULAR SOLUTIONS , S.A.||T-HYNET’s objective is to deploy a pressurised alkaline electrolyser in the Tarragona Industrial area in Spain, selling renewable hydrogen and oxygen to local off-takers.|
Key aspects of innovation include the unprecedented size of stacks, higher operating pressure and efficiency than state of the art and increased water use efficiency. A digital twin will enable a flexible and optimised operating platform.
Columbus: A scalable and replicable solution to decarbonise industry by the combination of captured “fatal” CO2 from lime production with green hydrogen, to produce carbon-neutral synthetic e-methane
|Refineries||Belgium||ELECTRABEL||Columbus targets the avoidance of direct CO2 emissions from lime production by transforming CO2 into e-methane at an industrial scale in Belgium.|
The objective is to demonstrate a first-of-a-kind new integrated process: capture CO2 emissions from an oxycombustion lime kiln and combine it with green hydrogen produced by electrolysers to produce e-methane.
The produced e-methane is suitable for injection into the national natural gas (NG) grid but could also be used either by industrial users or as an alternative fuel in the transport sector.
Green Methanol in Galicia
|Chemicals||Spain||IBERDROLA CLIENTES||GREEN MEIGA will deploy an innovative and integrated technological approach to e-methanol production|
The project consists in an integrated plant with i) a hybridised H2 production system comprising alkaline, proton-exchange membrane (PEM), solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) and SOEC co-electrolysis systems), ii) an integrated e-methanol production system, and iii) an advanced CO2 capture system integrating enzyme-based and direct air-capture technologies.
Production of large quantities of green hydrogen in the Maasvlakte region in the Netherlands through electrolysis.
|Hydrogen||netherlands||Uniper Hydrogen Netherlands B.V.||H2 Maasvlakte plans to construct and operate an electrolyser in the Port of Rotterdam area, mainly powered by wind electricity.|
The electrolyser will be installed on the site of an existing coal power plant to repurpose utility infrastructure such as grid connections and demineralized water supply.
The hydrogen production is intended for off-take in refiners in the Port of Rotterdam area, e.g. for synthetic bio-fuel production.
The plant will be suitable for grid-ancillary services through flexible and optimised dispatch, to relieve grid congestion issues.
|ASTURIAS H2 VALLEY||Hydrogen||Spain||H2 ABOÑO, SA||Power-to-Hydrogen Hub to produce and supply renewable hydrogen with electricity supply from renewable power plants (wind, solar).The production site will be located inside the facilities of the already existing conventional coal power plant; its location gives direct access to potential off-takers and future scaling up potential.|
|EnergHys||Hydrogen||Netherlands||TotalEnergies||EnergHys aims to establish a complete value chain of scalable renewable hydrogen production from renewable energies to end-users.|
The intention is to use the produced renewable hydrogen to help decarbonise hard-to-abate industrial customers and the mobility sector by replacing grey hydrogen.
The project benefits from the proximity to the North Sea Port and renewable energy landing points and its future connection to the local hydrogen backbone.
Green Methanol manufacturing from CO
|Refineries||Spain||Forestal del Atlántico, S.A.||TRISKELION aims to produce green methanol from hydrogen and captured CO2.|
The hydrogen is produced via electrolysis with electricity from additional renewable sources (wind farm in the immediate vicinity of the project facilities). The CO2 is captured from an existing co-generation plan, after it has been transformed to make its capture viable.
The project will also produce green liquid oxygen via an oxygen liquefaction and liquid oxygen storage system.
HydrOxy Hub Walsum
|Hydrogen||Germany||IQONY GmbH||The project will develop, build, and operate a PEM-electrolyser in Duisburg-Walsum (Germany). The installation will be integrated with an existing renewable energy plant and supported by a battery.|
The project will produce renewable hydrogen and heat. The renewable hydrogen will be mostly supplied to a local steel maker, with additional supplies to transport activities and other industries. The produced heat will be directed into a district heating system.
FFI Holmaneset -Green Ammonia Production to fill the GAP in Europe’s energy supply-
|Chemicals||Norway||FFI-NOR||Renewable ammonia production plant in Norway, using an electrolyser powered by surplus renewable energy from the grid. The ammonia will be supplied by ship to domestic and European markets.|
Full value chain of renewable ammonia in Europe, expanding the deployment of existing technology to a large-scale commercial installation that will shift the economics of green hydrogen and green ammonia production towards a sustainable pathway.
Green Ammonia Linz
|Chemicals||Austria||VERBUND||Production of renewable ammonia. The project will integrate a PEM-electrolyser with ammonia production facilities, powered by renewable energy from the grid to produce hydrogen. The project will follow the electricity grid’s emission intensity, with the facility’s operation timed to use more electricity when the share of renewable electricity is high.|
The renewable ammonia produced by the GRAMLI project will be fully compliant with regulations and ready to supply melamine, fertilisers, and technical nitrogen products.
Clean tech manufacturing
Topsoe SOEC Stack Module Factory
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Denmark||TOPSOE AS||The project consists in building and operating a factory for innovative solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) stack modules used for electrolysis in green hydrogen production.|
The innovative SOEC stack module is the core of the SOEC electrolyser, being the main factor of its performance. The technology enables higher energy (electrical) efficiency as compared to conventional electrolysis.
Lignode One – Sustainable bio-based anode material for batteries
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Finland||STORA||Lignode One is producing a material that provides an alternative to natural and synthetic graphite: Lignode® made from lignin, a by-product in the production of cellulose fibre.|
The project intends to construct a commercial scale plant to manufacture Lignode®, as an extension of an industrial pulp mill and lignin extraction site.
The project will have a crucial role in providing the EV battery industry with the first and most advanced bio-based technology for anode material using renewable lignin.
Upscaling Vianode innovative synthetic graphite production technology for a responsible electrification of Europe
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Norway||VIANODE||Project ELAN will develop a full-size industrial production facility addressing the growing supply/demand gap for anode materials and paving the way towards European-produced anode materials.|
The project will bring a novel graphisation technology to commercial scale.
Furthermore, the project will set a new standard to produce synthetic graphite anode materials, by maturing its clean, energy- and material-efficient graphitisation process to TRL9. The technology further enables the recycling of anode materials, as a first step towards a circular value chain for batteries in Europe.
NorSun AS: Resource efficient and highly innovative n-type mono-Silicon wafers for Europe.
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Norway||NORSUN AS||Project SunRISE intends to build and operate an ingot and wafer manufacturing plant. By deploying innovative and state-of-the art technology including high levels of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), manufacturing costs will be reduced, ensuring competitiveness on a global stage.|
The wafers produced have much lower environmental impact and resource consumption, adding value to the product.
Smart ELectrolYsis Module manufacturing – upscaling with Automotive production technology and a Sustainability focus
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Germany||BOSCH||After starting the production of its new ELY stack, the project will industrialise the novel Smart Electrolysis Module (SEM), which combines the ELY stack with cost-efficient, robust, and highly available automotive-based power electronics, control unit and sensors including global service offerings.|
This unique pre-assembled and ready-to-use cloud connected system solution will reduce commissioning efforts of large-scale electrolysers at the same time increase their operating efficiency and availability significantly.
High-efficient Onshore PV module production in Europe
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Germany, Spain||MEYER BURGER (INDUSTRIES) GMBH||The project aims to establish a manufacturing plant for high-performance photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in Europe, thus helping to strengthen European supply chains and energy independence.|
Furthermore, HOPE will introduce new innovative heterojunction technology (HJT), allowing for longer-lasting, higher-efficiency, cutting-edge PV modules.
GIGA-watt Scaling of advanced Alkaline water Electrolyser Separators
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Belgium||AGFA||The project consists in the commercialisation of an industrial-scale ZIRFON production facility which will develop and bring to market the latest generation of ZIRFON membrane (Generation 3) with improved stack electrical efficiency, resulting in a reduction in renewable electricity required per unit of H2 produced by the electrolysers.|
The GIGA-SCALES project innovation lies primarily in increased production scale, developing membranes that are highly efficient and performant, with enhanced stack electrical efficiency and power density when compared to other options, creating a production line that is highly automated and defect-free.
Building a European future for clean batteries to accelerate the renewable energy transition
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Norway||Freyr Battery Norway AS||Giga Arctic aims to construct a Gigafactory to produce clean battery cells in Norway, powered with 100% green electricity.|
The project eliminates substantial toxic materials (e.g., the battery cells will be produced without solvent or binder) and simplifies the manufacturing process cutting 7 out of 13 manufacturing steps.
BASF Battery Recycling Tarragona
|Non-ferrous Metals||Spain||BASF ESPANOLA SL||BBRT is the first industrial deployment of an innovative recycling plant for battery materials based on an innovative pyrolysis for black mass and an innovative hydrometallurgical refining process.|
The innovative process technology includes a technology for Li recovery that allows very high Li recovery rates.
Hydrogen-related Novel Components, Robotic Elements, and manufActuring Solutions for Electrolyzers and fuel cells
|Hydrogen||Germany||DE NORA DEUTSCHLAND GMBH||The main objective of the project is to upscale the production capacity for innovative clean-tech equipment, i.e., electrolysers and fuel cells components.|
The focus is related to designing, constructing and validating highly efficient manufacturing lines based on Industry 4.0 principles that will also guarantee a low environmental footprint of the products.
This facility will include different manufacturing lines for electrolysers and fuel cells components. The innovation proposed will enable to reduce the total cost of ownership of these electrochemical devices used for the conversion of power into hydrogen and vice versa, allowing to reduce the current economic barriers of such clean-tech equipment and facilitate their adoption in the market.
200MW Production of thin-film solar by Sweden
|Manufacturing of components for production of renewable energy or energy storage||Sweden||Midsummer||Project DAWN is set to build and operate a plant for lightweight and flexible copper indium gallium selenide solar cell (CIGS) thin-film solar cells and panels in Sweden.|
Lightweight thin-film solar panels can be installed on previously inaccessible places, such as low-bearing rooftops.
Innovative and cost-efficient production process for PtL using industrial off-gases
|Refineries||Norway||Nordic Electrofuel AS||E-fuel Pilot aims to demonstrate a competitive production of syncrude (liquid hydrocarbons), based on renewable energy, water, and CO/CO₂ from industrial off-gases of a Ferro/Silicon-Manganese plant.|
It will use transformation processes like FT (Fischer–Tropsch process), reversed water gas shift and alkaline electrolysis, combined with an innovative syngas solution.
Syncrude, after refining, is replacing fossil-based products like kerosene, and can be used in existing engines and infrastructure, specifically, for decarbonisation of the aviation industry. It has a clean combustion and significantly reduces particulates emissions.
Next Generation Integrated Floating Wind Optimized for Deep Waters
|Wind energy||France||TECHNIP FRANCE||NEXTFLOAT+ proposes a fully integrated floating offshore wind system with a tension leg platform (TLP) mooring design optimised for deep waters, mass manufacturability and scalability for larger turbines.|
The concept will be deployed with prototype site in southern France.
Highly Innovative Prototype of the most Powerful Offshore Wind turbine generator
|Wind energy||Denmark||SGRE-DK||The HIPPOW project will install, operate and test one of the world’s most powerful wind turbine prototype to validate new technological developments and obtain necessary certifications before starting full-scale production.|
With the huge potential of such an impressive wind turbine to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this project will have an important contribution to Europe’s decarbonisation.
Sustainable dispatchable Energy enabled by wAve-Wind OffshoRe plaTforms with onboard Hydrogen
|Hydro/Ocean energy||Spain||FLOATING POWER PLANT AS||SEAWORTHY is a mid-size prototype demonstration project aiming to demonstrate dispatchable renewable power supply through smart integration of wave energy converters, a wind turbine, and a full hydrogen system (electrolyser, storage, and fuel cells) in a single semisubmersible platform.|
The goal of the demonstrator is to advance proprietary PNS-P2X technology from TRL6 to TRL8, by building, testing and operating prototype at a scale considered suitable representative for validation of commercial-scale applications.
Hybrid mid-sized pilot furnace for flat glass
|Glass, ceramics & construction material||Czechia||AGC GLASS EUROPE SA||The Volta project aims to combine cold-top electric melting and oxy-gas combustion in an integrated glass furnace in flat glass production, enabling an electrification rate of up to 75% whilst ensuring the high-quality standards of float glass. It will also use 100% of recycled glass as raw material.|
The novel furnace is expected to reduce the emissions by more than 75% for the pilot and for large float furnaces, while maintaining their competitiveness. Furthermore, it has the potential to be retrofitted to all existing flat glass furnaces in Europe, while safeguarding the competitiveness of the EU flat glass industry.
Fully electrified chemical recycling of plastic waste for deep decarbonisation of the polymer industry
|Chemicals||Germany||LYONDELLBASELL INDUSTRIES||Project MoReTec aims to construct an advanced plastics recycling plant in Germany, converting processed mixed plastic waste into feedstock for new plastic production.|
The novel technology will convert plastic into pyrolysis oil and pyrolysis gas for use in crackers as feedstock for new plastics and chemicals production and can be operated fully on renewable electricity.
MoReTec uses molten salt as a heat transfer medium, achieving higher thermal energy density throughout the molecular recycling process.
CFC Pilot for CCS
|Hydrogen||Netherlands||Esso Nederland B.V.||This project will use carbonate fuel cells (CFCs) to capture and concentrate CO2 streams, aiming to reduce the effective cost of Carbon Capture and Storage, in particular in energy intensive industries.|
The pilot will test the operation of the system with live pre-treated flue gas compositions, interconnection of parallel CFC modules, and integration into existing industrial processes.
Sustainable Chemical recycling through HOOP technology
|Chemicals||Italy||VERSALIS SPA||SC-HOPP aims to valorise plastic waste that is currently non-recyclable to produce recycled naphtha that can replace virgin naphtha to produce new polymers.|
The technology is complementary to mechanical recycling and presents several advantages with respect to traditional pyrolysis, including higher yield, greater feedstock flexibility and high quality of r-naphtha suitable to be directly fed to steam crackers without processing through refinery.
The Saoirse Wave Energy Project
|Hydro/Ocean energy||Ireland||SAOIRSE WAVE ENERGY LIMITED||SAO is a wave energy demonstration project at a site located off the Irish coast, aiming to prove the viability of wave energy converter technology.|