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Hydrogen use by an industrial cluster via a local pipeline network

This flagship project requires installing and operating a simple and short hydrogen pipeline network in one local area for interconnecting an electrolyser with a small number of industrial end users, with the option to serve other final applications (e.g. mobility) as well. The electrolyser and pipeline system should be developed for integration into the industrial zone and, if needed, associated buffer storage should be foreseen to ensure hydrogen supply dynamics always meet customers´ requirements.

The electrolyser should be viewed as the initial step towards subsequently achieving a much greater rate of hydrogen production and use at scale for the industrial zone. The electrolyser should have a minimum capacity of 10 MW. The pipeline transport capacity should be sufficient to meet the estimated future peak demand for hydrogen by the off-takers, which is expected to be far in excess of the electrolyser capacity.

The electrolyser should be positioned optimally with respect to the electricity grid and any nearby renewable power sources, and it is expected that this will influence the layout and length of the pipeline network. It is envisaged that a hydrogen pipeline within an industrial district could facilitate the proposed approach by serving two or more industrial processes to create an industrial hydrogen cluster.

The co-location of an electrolyser with an industrial process has been demonstrated previously (e.g. for methanol production and oil refining). However, the operation of a number of processes from a small hydrogen pipeline network fed by a central electrolyser has not been yet demonstrated. This requires laying new pipelines or repurposing existing pipelines in order to connect the end users to the electrolyser and incorporating buffer storage as appropriate in order to manage supply/demand mismatches. The hydrogen should be used to fully or partially displace the consumption of a fossil fuel or ‘grey’ hydrogen.

The project is intended to be a first step towards achieving more substantial rates of hydrogen production in the future for off-takers in the chosen industrial zone. It may be an integral part of a much larger scale and longer-term project for the industrial cluster. The proposal should outline the business model upon which the equipment will be operated for the long term (e.g. 10-20 years) and full details of the business model should be finalised during the early stages of the project. The project should conform with the permitting requirements and hydrogen policies of the EU Member State at the location. The demonstration should operate for a minimum of 1 year (4,000 cumulated hours at nominal load).

It is expected that the consortium will include an appropriate range of expertise for integrating the proposed system into the cluster, such as a gas engineering company, a gas or energy distribution or transmission operator and a minimum of two off-takers located within one industrial area.

Following the commissioning phase, electricity costs are not eligible for funding.

Applicants are encouraged to seek synergies with existing projects of the Horizon Europe Process4Planet and Clean Steel partnerships or future topics[[In particular proposals are expected to explore synergies with topic HORIZON-CL4-2024-TWIN-TRANSITION-01-34: Renewable hydrogen used as feedstock in innovative production routes.]] concerning innovative industrial processes, that could make use of the hydrogen and oxygen and other by-products produced by the electrolyser.

Proposals are also encouraged to explore synergies with projects running under the EURAMET research programmes EMPIR[[]] and the European Partnership on Metrology (e.g Met4H2[[]]) concerning quality assurance measurements which aim at ensuring that the purity of hydrogen produced is at the expected grade.

Applicants should provide a funding plan to ensure implementation of the project in synergies with other sources of funding. If no other sources of funding will be required, this should be stated clearly in the proposal, with a commitment from the partners to provide own funding. If additional sources of funding will be required, proposals should present a clear plan on which funding programmes at either EU (e.g. Structural Funds, Just Transition Fund, Innovation Fund, Connecting Europe Facility…) or national levels will be targeted[[Including applications for funding planned, applications for funding submitted and funding awarded]]. In these cases, applicants should present a credible planning that includes forecasted funding programmes and their expected time of commitment.

This topic is expected to contribute to EU competitiveness and industrial leadership by supporting a European value chain for hydrogen and fuel cell systems and components.

It is expected that Guarantees of origin (GOs) will be used to prove the renewable character of the hydrogen that is produced. In this respect consortium may seek out the issuance and subsequent cancellation of GOs from the relevant Member State issuing body and if that is not yet available the consortium may proceed with the issuance and cancellation of non-governmental certificates (e.g CertifHy[[]]).

Proposals should provide a preliminary draft on ‘hydrogen safety planning and management’ at the project level, which will be further updated during project implementation.

Activities developing test protocols and procedures for the performance and durability assessment of electrolysers and fuel cell components proposals should foresee a collaboration mechanism with JRC (see section ""Collaboration with JRC""), in order to support EU-wide harmonisation. Test activities should adopt the already published EU harmonised testing protocols[[]] to benchmark performance and quantify progress at programme level.

Activities are expected achieve TRL 8 by the end of the project - see General Annex B.

The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 15.00 million – proposals requesting Clean Hydrogen JU contributions above this amount will not be evaluated.

At least one partner in the consortium must be a member of either Hydrogen Europe or Hydrogen Europe Research.

Purchases of equipment, infrastructure or other assets used for the action must be declared as depreciation costs. However, for the following equipment, infrastructure or other assets purchased specifically for the action (or developed as part of the action tasks): electrolyser, its BoP, hydrogen pipeline network, and any other hydrogen related equipment essential for the implementation of the project (e.g. hydrogen storage), costs may exceptionally be declared as full capitalised costs.

The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2023 Annual Work Plan and in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2023–2024 which apply mutatis mutandis.