>@ Sean Gallup / Staff/Getty Images
© Sean Gallup / Staff/ Getty Images

By 2050, the European Union is meant to achieve climate neutrality, or net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Clean hydrogen can be a key factor in reducing emissions in the transport sector and in industry, becoming a green energy source for these difficult areas of the economy. According to forecasts, hydrogen technologies will be viable within 5 to 10 years. An advisory agreement signed between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Polish Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies will support the roll-out of clean hydrogen technologies in the country.

The EIB and the Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies, coordinated by the Regional Chamber of Commerce of Pomerania, today signed an advisory agreement within the framework of the “InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators” initiative. The initiative is part of the Horizon 2020 programme jointly supported by the European Commission and the EIB Group. The agreement demonstrates the joint efforts of these institutions in supporting investment in clean hydrogen technologies. The signatories want to adhere to EU taxonomy guidelines, including research, development and innovation in key components and machinery for hydrogen production (e.g. electrolysers, fuel cells, hydrogen-powered vehicles) as well as R&D and demonstration projects for the end-uses of hydrogen in industry.

Obtaining green, zero-emission hydrogen is very costly. In the EU context, the European Investment Bank is a key funding partner. Over the past 8 years, the EU bank has provided over €2 billion in advisory and financial support to projects that use hydrogen technologies. Projects that focus on scaling up deployment in the transport sector by supporting new hydrogen fleets and related infrastructure have also received funding. With its expertise and track record in financing innovative technologies and infrastructure (notably offshore wind and batteries), the EIB is well placed to support the development of the necessary hydrogen ecosystem in Europe:

“One of the main strengths of the European Investment Bank is combining advisory and technical support in the initial phases of a project with attractive forms of financing in the later phases,” said EIB Vice-President Teresa Czerwińska, who oversees the EIB’s activities in Poland and in the field of innovation. “This model is perfect for the development and deployment of new breakthrough technologies, including those based on the use of hydrogen. We hope that the agreement signed with the Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies will be the next step towards the uptake of hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels.”

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “With the Fit for 55 Package adopted by the Commission earlier in July, Europe is preparing further steps towards the objectives of carbon neutrality by 2050, by progressively reducing net greenhouse gas emissions. Research and innovation are essential in this process, offering opportunities for transformations on many key sectors of the economy while involving citizens and promoting social innovation along the socio-economic transition. The development of an EU hydrogen economy that leads to affordable access to energy and mobility is our collective ambition. The research community and the European hydrogen industry has big challenges ahead and a role to play in supporting our goals. This contract between the EIB and the Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies is a means to support innovative European companies in the development and commercialisation of new hydrogen technologies.

“The EIB participated in the roundtable of Directors-General of the Hydrogen Council on 7 July 2020 and in the launch of the Clean Hydrogen Alliance on 8 July, alongside the Commission, EU ministers, decision-makers from key industries and other stakeholders (representatives of hydrogen valleys, civil society and trade unions). Therefore, cooperation and information exchange with the Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies in Poland is a natural partnership and will bring benefits for the Cluster member companies,” said Piotr Maksyś, Director of the Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies.

Background information

In 2020, the EIB Group allocated €5.2 billion to the financing of projects in Poland.

InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators is a joint initiative of the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched in cooperation with the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme. The aim of InnovFin is to facilitate and accelerate access to finance for innovative companies and other innovative actors in Europe. To view the range of products available under the InnovFin programme, please click here. InnovFin Advisory helps compliant public and private contractors improve the creditworthiness and investment readiness of large, complex, innovative projects that require significant long-term investment.