The Commission on February 15, 2024 approved, under EU State aid rules, a third Important Project of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI’) to accelerate  renewable hydrogen infrastructure. This IPCEI is expected to boost the supply of renewable hydrogen, thereby helping to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan.

The project, called “IPCEI Hy2Infra”, was jointly prepared and notified by seven Member States: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and Slovakia.

The Member States will provide up to €6.9 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock €5.4 billion in private investments. As part of this IPCEI, 32 companies with activities in one or more Member States, including small and medium-sized enterprises (‘SMEs’), will participate in 33 projects.

IPCEI Hy2Infra will cover a wide part of the hydrogen value chain idvided in two pillars:

The first pillar concerns the construction of infrastructure in regional clusters, and involves four different types of infrastructure along the hydrogen supply chain. Relevant projects include 3.2 gigawatt of large-scale electrolysers; around 2,700 kilometres of new and repurposed hydrogen transmission and distribution pipelines; up to 370 gigawatt hours of large-scale hydrogen storage facilities; as well as handling terminals and related port infrastructure for hydrogen carriers.

The second pillar,  will focus on  interoperability to facilitate future interconnections and will contribute jointly to the development of common technical standards. For instance, several participants in the “West Germany cluster” will build three electrolysers in the Rhine-Ruhr area. This hydrogen infrastructure will connect to three different pipeline projects and have access to a storage facility. By mid-2027, the renewable hydrogen produced will be available to companies operating in the steel, cement, chemical, refinery, as well as mobility sectors. This cluster
will significantly reduce CO2 emissions of the off-takers and has an important cross-border dimension, with a pipeline connecting to the Dutch national hydrogen network.

Hy2Infra will also help Europe diversify energy sources and reduce fossil fuels imports. For instance, in line with the REPowerEU Plan, Hy2Infra participants will develop a port infrastructure in the Netherlands capable of handling hydrogen transport from overseas, either from other Member States with high renewable potential, like Portugal, or elsewhere in the world. Also, Hy2Infra includes an offshore pipeline project in Germany, to transport renewable hydrogen produced from wind farms in the North Sea, and a pipeline project across Slovakia, paving the way for future imports of hydrogen from Ukraine.

In short H2Infra will provide:

  1. the deployment of 3.2 GW of large-scale electrolysers to produce renewable hydrogen;
  2. the deployment of new and repurposed hydrogen transmission and distribution pipelines of approximately 2,700 km;
  3. the development of large-scale hydrogen storage facilities with capacity of at least 370 GWh; and
  4. the construction of handling terminals and related port infrastructure for liquid organic hydrogen carriers (‘LOHC’) to handle 6,000 tonnes of hydrogen a year.