State Aid: Commission approves up to €5.4 billion of public support by fifteen Member States for an Important Project of Common European Interest in the hydrogen technology value chain

@European Union, 2018@European Union, 2018

The Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an Important Project of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI’) to support research and innovation and first industrial deployment in the hydrogen technology value chain. The project, called ‘IPCEI Hy2Tech’ was jointly prepared and notified by fifteen Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain. The Member States will provide up to €5.4 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock additional €8.8 billion in private investments. As part of this IPCEI, 35 companies with activities in one or more Member States, including 8 small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’) and start-ups, will participate in 41 projects. The IPCEI will cover a wide part of the hydrogen technology value chain, including (i) the generation of hydrogen, (ii) fuel cells, (iii) storage, transportation and distribution of hydrogen, and (iv) end-users applications, in particular in the mobility sector. It is expected to contribute to the development of important technological breakthroughs, including new highly efficient electrode materials, more performant fuel cells, innovative transport technologies, among which first time roll out hydrogen mobility ones. The Commission assessed the proposed project under EU State aid rules, more specifically its Communication on Important Projects of Common European Interest. Where private initiatives supporting breakthrough innovation fail to materialise because of the significant risks such projects entail, IPCEI enable Member States to jointly fill the gap to overcome these market failures. At the same time, they ensure that the EU economy at large benefits from the investments and limit potential distortions to competition. The Commission has found that the IPCEI Hy2Tech fulfils the required conditions set out in its Communication. On this basis, the Commission concluded that the project is in line with EU State aid rules. A press release is available online.