The EHA attended a full day information session on February 27 on a new funding instrument the Blending call to close the gap between funding available for demonstration and requirements for  bank loans for the remaining “bits”, to  facilitate the market introduction of innovative technologies. There are two deadlines this year the first this June 15, the second in November 30 2017. The day ended with a presentation on the role of innovation and alternative fuel within the call. The call is complementary to the end of Horizon 2020 and the roll-out of the CEF transport. The budget available for innovation projects is of €140 million. The support rate is a maximum of 20% and must be underpinned by a Cost Benefit Analysis as used in Regional project funding . Minimum project size is 10 mln and 25 mln when EIB involvement is required.

The main features of the 2017 blending call:
– Only works, i.e. roll-out deployment projects
– Combination of grant and loan
– More flexibility on eligible costs funding
– Call refers to work programme to avoid ambiguities
– Neither annual nor cohesion calls (i.e., only Core Network eligible and no special 85% grant funding)
– Confirmation of final financial plan of the project needs to be ready by April 2019: but bank loan interest needs to be proven by submission.

The focus of the call is only on new technologies that are ready for deployment, bringing unit costs down, and to better understand the client’s needs. The principal objective being to execute the market rollout. The technology and the business case should be sufficiently developed and trialled so that the solution is already close to financial break-even.

To raise the attractiveness of the blending call and accelerate implementation into the mass market the following elements have been introduced:
– Waiving of the % capping on mobile equipment, i.e. the vehicles, for all modes of transport – this means for alternative fuels, that a pure mobile equipment proposal would be eligible, however access to sufficient re-fuelling/re-charging infrastructure must be proven
• The eligible part of the mobile equipment is restricted to the financial difference between the innovative and the standard solution for the grant component only; – for the component covered by the loan this restriction is waived
• Multi-modal refuelling/recharging infrastructure is encouraged
• Common tendering of any equipment is encouraged

Photo Credit: CEF