EU gives €1.1bn to heavy-industry decarbonisation projects

Steel making has been one of the first heavy industries to explore renewable power. ​​Used with permission of Třinec Iron and Steel Works (Třinecké železárny), Czech Republic

The EU is to invest more than €1.1bn in seven large-scale projects aimed at decarbonising European industry.

Coming from the EU’s Innovation Fund, the grants will support breakthrough technologies in energy-intensive industries in Belgium, Italy, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

The projects include:

  • Using green hydrogen to power steel production in the Swedish districts of Gällivare and Oxelösund;
  • Creating a full-scale bioenergy carbon capture and storage facility in Stockholm;
  • Refitting a refinery in Porvoo, Finland to produce clean hydrogen;
  • Capturing emissions from a French cement plant for storing in emptied North Sea oil reservoirs and for incorporating into concrete;
  • Developing a complete carbon capture, transport and storage value chain for hydrogen and chemicals production at the Port of Antwerp;
  • Building a factory in Catania, Sicily to make high performance photovoltaic cells;
  • Converting non-recyclable municipal solid waste into methanol and low-carbon fuel in El Morell, Catalonia.

Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, said: “Innovation is crucial to provide the solutions we need this decade to keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Together with sharp emissions reductions, innovation gives us a path towards the Paris Agreement.

“Today’s decision gives concrete support to clean tech projects across Europe and enables them to scale up game-changing technologies that support and speed up the transition to climate neutrality. Our ‘Fit for 55’ package proposes to increase the Innovation Fund so that even more innovative European projects and ideas can jump ahead in the global climate innovation race.”

The seven schemes were chosen after a search for suitable schemes with a capital value greater than €7.5m. They were evaluated by independent experts for their ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and innovate “beyond the state-of-the-art” while being mature enough to be set up quickly.

All projects are either already part of industrial hubs or will kick-start “decarbonisation clusters” in interconnected industries.

The grants are expected to be finalised in the first quarter of 2022.

On 26 October, the commission launched a second call for large-scale projects with a deadline of 3 March 2022. All the projects that were not successful in the first call were encouraged to re-apply.

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