The European Commission has awarded EUR 172 million to support 13 research and innovation projects that will contribute directly to the energy independence of the European Union. These projects focus on the goals of REPowerEU, supporting affordable, secure and sustainable energy for Europe, while phasing out the import of Russian fossil fuels.
The 13 projects were selected following calls in March and April 2023 under Horizon Europe Cluster 5 (Climate, Energy and Mobility), covering three overarching destinations: sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply; efficient, sustainable and inclusive energy use; clean and competitive solutions for all transport modes.
Projects in brief
- Renewable Energy Valleys to increase energy security while accelerating the green transition in Europe: 2 projects supported by an EU contribution of EUR 39.5 million.
Renewable energy valleys are understood as decentralised renewable energy systems that help enhance security and autonomy of local or regional energy supply. These two projects, located in Greece and the Netherlands and supported also by partners in 14 other EU member states, will demonstrate how local energy supply and needs will be optimally aligned, ensuring lower and more stable overall energy costs for individual citizens.
- Supporting the development of a digital twin to improve management, operations and resilience of the EU Electricity System in support to REPowerEU: 1 project supported by an EU contribution of EUR 20 million.
A digital twin of the electricity grid is a digital solution to support network operators and market players in performing a well-informed decision-making. It is a key tool to render the electricity system more efficient, resilient, and able to integrate higher shares of renewable energies. Therefore, it is an essential instrument to meet the objectives of REPowerEU. Beneficiaries in 15 EU member states will together implement this project.
- Demonstration of innovative, large-scale, seasonal heat and/or cooling storage technologies for decarbonisation and security of supply: 3 projects supported by an EU contribution of EUR 29 million.
These 3 projects, carried out by 20 EU members states and associated countries, will demonstrate state-of-the-art technologies for heat and/or cooling storage. Large-scale solutions are expected to be embedded into district-level heating and/or cooling storage, but also to contribute to heat demand for industrial processes.
- Innovative solutions for the cost-effective decarbonisation of buildings through energy efficiency and electrification: 2 projects supported by an EU contribution of EUR 24.5 million.
To develop and demonstrate innovative and integrated solutions for electrification of the thermal energy demand of buildings in line with the ‘Electrify Europe’ track of REPowerEU (e.g. heat pumps). These projects, with participants in 17 EU members and associated countries, have a high replication potential across Europe, and will increase the number of cost-effective solutions for electrification of building thermal energy demand, with significantly lower costs per building unit.
- Hydrogen-powered aviation: 2 projects supported by an EU contribution of EUR 22.5 million.
Hydrogen-powered commercial aviation will only become a reality if the adequate ground-based refuelling and supply system for liquid hydrogen at air transport ground infrastructures will be in place in the EU by 2035. Moreover, combination of fuel-cells and thermal propulsion is a game-changer to reduce not only CO2 but also non-CO2 emissions beyond 2035. Beneficiaries in 10 EU member states and associated countries will implement these projects, working towards this goal and facilitating full operations of hydrogen-powered airplanes.
- Demonstrations to accelerate the switch to safe use of new sustainable climate neutral fuels in waterborne transport: 3 projects supported by an EU contribution of EUR 36.5 million.
To ultimately decarbonise the waterborne transport sector, it is crucial to facilitate the wide adoption of sustainable climate neutral fuels at large scale. This also includes aspects such as fuel distribution, bunkering, fuels storage and power conversion. This is the scope of these projects, that will be carried out by partners in 15 EU member states and associated countries.
The European Commission published on 18 May 2022 its REPowerEU plan, aiming to make Europe independent from the import of Russian fossil fuels well before the end of this decade. The three pillars of the plan are to ramp up the production of green energy, diversify our energy supplies, and reduce our demand for fossil gas, coal and oil. The REPowerEU plan includes a strong R&I component in order to accelerate the achievement of these goals, by further developing the technologies that facilitate this.
In line with these goals, the Work Programme 2023-2024 was reassessed on its alignment with REPowerEU. The six topics outlined in this news item were identified as flagship topics, directly contributing to REPowerEU. Other research and innovation actions that are included in the REPowerEU plan are related to hydrogen, solar energy and energy savings.
The European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA), plays a key role in supporting REPowerEU, through the efficient and effective implementation of its delegated programmes such as Horizon Europe. Therefore, CINEA ensures the successful implementation of the REPowerEU flagship topics described above.
Source: European Commission | Research and Innovation (https://shorturl.at/mpW01)