The increase of intermittent renewable electricity (solar and wind) raises the need for more flexibility in the power market and falling costs of renewable power open up the possibility to generate hydrogen at large scale from renewable power through electrolysis. Several sectors, namely the steel, refineries, chemistry, transport and even the natural gas sectors are exploring the reduction of their CO2 footprint by incorporating large quantities of renewable hydrogen in their processes.
This topic aims to demonstrate a large scale electrolyser generating bulk renewable hydrogen for use in one or a combination of these sectors. The electrolyser technology should be further up scaled, in view of reducing investment costs by economies of scale and developed to operate flexibly when power prices are low and provide grid balancing services.
The challenges addressed by the project are:
Recent years of R&D have significantly improved the production ramp up and down flexibility of electrolysis technology and improved the scalability from kW to MW size. What is still lacking is large scale infield demonstration at sites where both grid services are required and where hydrogen can be valorized in large quantities. Only such applications can provide both the scale for providing grid balancing and reaching cost levels where additional revenue can be generated from hydrogen distribution and sales.
This Innovation Action seeks proposals which demonstrate improved electrolyser technologies beyond actual state-of-the-art producing hydrogen with favorable economic conditions, e.g. when power prices are low, when additional revenue can be generated by providing high value grid balancing services and where the CO2 reduction footprint can be valorized.
The scope of the project is:
Consortia will preferably build upon outcome from previous projects funded by the FCH-JU and on already feasible business cases, so that potential customers do not discontinue the use of the installation after project end, but on the contrary support continued market roll-out efforts. The proposal must include an initial plan for use of the installation after the project. The proposal is expected to address new applications than the one already supported (i.e. steel industry).
To address adequately the challenges of this project, the consortium should include at least the electrolyser manufacturer, the hydrogen end-user and a power services company or the local power grid operator.
Specifically, the consortium should include strong links to:
The capacity of the electrolyser should be linked to the budget via the cost KPIs in the MAWP but also reflect the specific tailoring costs for ensuring electrolysis is compatible with the grid services requirements. The grid connection costs, building costs and the electricity costs for the commissioning phase are eligible for the funding. Electricity costs during demonstration / business operation are not eligible. The results of a techno-economic assessment must be published after each year of operation, including information on the individual cost and revenue streams related to the electrolyser. The Technical report however should present these figures for techno-economic assessment purposes.
Storage/compression costs should not be included.
To be eligible for participation a consortium must contain at least one constituent entity of the Industry or Research Grouping.
It is expected that the technology starts at TRL 7 and reaches TRL 8 at the end of the project.
Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox JRC-PTT-H2SAFETY@ec.europa.eu).
The maximum FCH 2 JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 10 million. This is an eligibility criterion – proposals requesting FCH 2 JU contribution above this amount will not be evaluated.
Expected duration: 5 years
 Reference: Water Electrolysis in the European Union (2014) (http://www.fch.europa.eu/node/783 reference: page 11-13)
The proposal is expected to demonstrate in an operational environment improved electrolysis technology configured to attract revenues from grid services and/or power price opportunities in addition to providing bulk renewable hydrogen to an industrial scale hydrogen user.
The consortium will ensure that actions are included in the project to generate learning and reach KPI and commercial targets, such as:
Versions of ‘lessons learnt’ reports addressed to the public should be prepared and disseminated across Europe and potentially wider.