The Commission has approved this Friday public aid worth 5,400 million for a hydrogen project developed by 15 EU Member States. The "Important Project of Common European Interest (PIICE)" is focused on supporting research and innovation and the first industrial use in the value chain of hydrogen technology.
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The project, called PIICE Hy2Tech, has been jointly prepared and notified by 15 Member States: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Spain.
Member States will provide up to €5.4 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock an additional €8.8 billion in private investment. Under this PIICE, 35 companies with activities in one or more EU countries, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, will participate in 41 projects.
Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: “Hydrogen has enormous potential for the future. It is an indispensable component for the diversification of energy sources and the ecological transition. However, investing in these innovative technologies can be risky for a single Member State or for a single company. That is where the rules on state aid for PIICEs come into play”.
“PIICE will cover a part of the hydrogen technology value chain: hydrogen generation, fuel cells, hydrogen storage, transportation and distribution, and end-user applications, especially in the energy sector. mobility," says Brussels: "It is expected to contribute to major technological breakthroughs, such as new high-efficiency electrode materials, more efficient fuel cells, and innovative transportation technologies, including the first-ever use of hydrogen-based mobility. PIICE is expected to create approximately 20,000 new direct jobs”.
Financing, beneficiaries and amounts
The European Commission explains that the PIICE “will cover 41 projects from 35 companies, including eight small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and emerging companies that carry out activities in one or several Member States. The direct participants will cooperate closely with each other through numerous planned collaborations and will have more than 300 external partners, such as universities, research organizations and SMEs from across Europe”.
The direct participants, the Member States that support them and the different technological fields of the projects are the following: