The European Commission has approved a €5.4 billion (£4.6bn) subsidy package that would support hydrogen technology projects across member states.
It has signed off on the Hy2Tech project, which was jointly prepared and notified by 15 member states: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain.
The member states will provide the public funding for the Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to support research and innovation and first industrial deployment in the hydrogen technology value chain, which is expected to unlock an additional €8.8 billion (£7.5bn) in private investments.
As part of this IPCEI, 35 companies with activities in one or more member states, including small and medium-sized companies and start-ups, will participate in 41 projects.
It will cover a wide part of the hydrogen technology value chain, including hydrogen generation, fuel cells, storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen and end users applications, in particular in the mobility sector.
According to the Commission, the IPCEI is expected to contribute to the development of important technological breakthroughs, including new highly efficient electrode materials, more performant fuel cells and innovative transport technologies as well as create around 20,000 direct jobs.
Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Hydrogen has a huge potential going forward. It is an indispensable component for the diversification of energy sources and the green transition. Investing in such innovative technologies can however be risky for one member state or one company alone. This is where state aid rules for IPCEI have a role to play.
“Today’s project is an example of truly ambitious European co-operation for a key common objective. It also shows how competition policy works hand in hand with breakthrough innovation.”