Ce topic appartient à l'appel HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022
Identifiant du topic: HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-06-01

Hydrogen Valleys (large-scale)

Type d'action : HORIZON JU Innovation Actions
Nombre d'étapes : Single stage
Date d'ouverture : 31 mars 2022
Date de clôture : 20 septembre 2022 17:00
Budget : €121 000 000
Call Identifier : HORIZON-JTI-CLEANH2-2022-2
Description :


Building on the successful experience of previous years (Hydrogen Valleys in the FCH 2 JU call 2019 and Hydrogen Islands in the FCH 2 JU call 2020), this topics calls for the deployment of a flagship[1] Hydrogen Valley with interlinkages to other places of hydrogen production and/or consumptions outside its boundaries. This represents a novelty as the Hydrogen Valleys supported to date are confined to a specific geography.

Proposals under this topic are expected to demonstrate how they contribute to the objectives of the European Hydrogen Strategy and the European Green Deal.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Activate a long-lasting hydrogen economy in the targeted region/s and that goes beyond the boundaries of the Hydrogen Valley/s developed as a result of the proposal;
  • Replicable model for mutualisation of hydrogen production or distribution and storage, in view of optimisation of investments as key parameter for financial viability;
  • At least 5 additional Hydrogen Valleys of at least a similar size and scope as the one required in this topic are initiated in other locations in Europe;
  • Improved public perception of hydrogen ecosystems, contributing towards an EU hydrogen infrastructure backbone in any possible way, e.g. HRS network, hydrogen pipeline, NG pipeline retrofitted to hydrogen, etc.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following objectives of the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA for Hydrogen Valleys. In particular:

  • System integration: integrating several elements together to improve overall synergies and facilitate sector coupling;
  • System efficiency: improvement of overall energy and economic efficiency of the integrated system;
  • Improved security and resilience of the energy system, e.g. via hydrogen production using locally available renewable energy sources,
  • Market creation: demonstration of new market for hydrogen
  • Complementarity of hydrogen with RES, integration with other technologies, existing infrastructure;
  • Assessment of the availability and affordability of clean (pollution free) energy provision for industry and cities uses; whilst also considering environmental impacts like water utilisation;
  • Mutualisation of production or distribution and storage, assuming decentralisation as key parameter;
  • Help set or test regulation requirements at the relevant governance level;
  • Increase the knowledge management with assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts, including the concept of digital twin assuring an effective monitor and optimisation strategy for the operation and further development of the valley;
  • Development of public awareness of hydrogen technologies including contributions from Social Science and Humanities if this was relevant.
  • Support development of Hydrogen Valleys in areas of Europe with no or limited presence of Hydrogen Valleys.

In addition, proposals should demonstrate how they intend to reach the KPIs of the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA 2021-2027 for each of the technologies deployed in the Hydrogen Valley.


A Hydrogen Valley is a defined geographical area where hydrogen serves more than one end sector or application in mobility, industry and energy. They typically comprise a multi-million euro investment and cover all necessary steps in the hydrogen value chain, from production (and often even dedicated renewable electricity production) to subsequent storage and its transport & distribution to various off-takers. Whilst most of the projects are located in Europe, over the past years, Hydrogen Valleys have gone global, with new projects emerging worldwide.

Hydrogen Valleys are starting to form first regional "hydrogen economies”. Already under the FCH JU provided support to a number of Hydrogen Valleys[2] across different locations in Europe and of different sizes. It is however still necessary to accelerate the deployment of additional Hydrogen Valleys already now in view of the objectives of the European hydrogen strategy[3]. To do this it is necessary to have testbed projects to act as first real-life cases for piloting global hydrogen markets. These projects needs to be expanded in scale to demonstrate the full range of benefits from the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier. This topic addresses this need by calling for a Hydrogen Valley of a large scale with high levels of hydrogen production. It also intends to stimulate the activation of hydrogen markets that go beyond the boundaries the Hydrogen Valley location.

The scope of this topic is to develop, deploy and demonstrate a large-scale hydrogen valley with interlinkages to other places of hydrogen production and/or consumptions outside its boundaries. The size and other characteristics are given further below. To increase the impact, it is encouraged to accommodate these requirements across two separate interconnected valleys located in different intra-EU regions[4] whether within the same Member State/Associated country or not; in such cases, exchange of hydrogen is expected to exceed 20% of the overall annual production in order to have a meaningful impact, and individual regions would not be required to achieve the minimum project size of 5,000 tonnes/yr (outlined below) but would still be required to demonstrate minimum thresholds for percentages dedicated to end uses in various sectors as outlined below.


Proposals should:

  • Showcase the ability of hydrogen and its associated technologies to decarbonise different sectors in EU through this renewable hydrogen flagship project;
  • Demonstrate how hydrogen enables sector coupling and allows large integration of renewable energy on the selected territory;
  • Include clear plans for transport, storage and distribution of hydrogen;
  • Cover the complete value chain of hydrogen from production to distribution, storage and end-use in order to decarbonise regions by harnessing renewables with significant fluctuations in seasonal energy demand, while at the same time allowing matching supply and demand on a daily basis. The proposed solution should thus provide energy flexibility and improve the Regions’ system resilience through the use of renewable hydrogen. Applicants are expected to consider the environmental impact, including water utilisation;
  • Foresee enough time for monitoring and assessment and at least 2 years of operations. The monitoring strategy should as a minimum allow to assess compliance with the KPIs of the Clean Hydrogen JU SRIA 2021-2027 for each of the technologies covered, as mentioned in the expected outcome section.

Size and characteristics of the Hydrogen Valley

Proposals should demonstrate:

  • Production of at least 5,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen[5] per year using new hydrogen production capacity. Due to the large volumes of hydrogen involved, production plants may be distributed across the territories involved.
  • At least two FCH applications from at least two different sectors should be part of the project. The following sectors and applications can be considered for the use of renewable hydrogen, with a clear focus on energy, industry and transport sectors:
    • Industry sector: Industrial application valorising hydrogen such as refineries, steel industry, metallurgy, glass industry, ammonia or methanol production. Other industry applications are not excluded;
    • Energy sector: Possible applications on heat and power for commercial/residential buildings, service sector and industry, hydrogen gen-sets, backup-power systems, and electric supply of critical infrastructure. Gas grid injection, in blending mixtures and its impact assessment in order to promote the progressive decarbonisation of the gas grid should also fall under this sector;
    • Transport sector: Buses, cars (private cars and / or captive fleets such as taxis), delivery vans and small trucks, medium and heavy-duty trucks (also for long haul trips), specialty vehicles (garbage trucks and sweepers), trains, waterborne applications (boats/ships and port logistics), airborne applications (small and medium airplanes, drones and UAVs), material handling vehicles. Other transport applications are not excluded.

It is expected that the majority of the produced hydrogen will be dedicated to industrial applications, yet at least 20% of the hydrogen produced should serve other applications. In addition, if applicable as indicated above, cross-regional exchange/distribution of hydrogen is expected to be at least 20% of the hydrogen produced in the project and could be bidirectional depending on the location of storage.

The volumes of hydrogen produced and distributed for the different end uses should be consistent with the amount of investment considered.

Hydrogen Markets

Proposals should:

  • Demonstrate existing and new markets for renewable hydrogen, especially when applications are used in synergies;
  • If applicable, pilot implementation of a transnational-regional/intra-EU renewable (certified via a relevant scheme) hydrogen market / trading of hydrogen across regions/borders.

Economic growth

Proposals should:

  • Demonstrate how all actors, public and private, at European national and regional level will work together, across the entire value chain, to build a dynamic hydrogen ecosystem in the Member States/Regions involved. In particular proposals should demonstrate how the Hydrogen Valley development will be accompanied by economic growth, skills development and job creation;
  • Promote and enable a renewable hydrogen ecosystem in the region(s), as a new economic vector and as mechanism of creating value for their population;
  • Promote the economic growth and focus shifting of EU regions to new technologies and areas (e.g. reindustrialisation based on hydrogen technologies);
  • Demonstrate the expected value added that the development of the Hydrogen Valley will bring to the affected region/s by including the intended approach that would be followed to maximise the value added created.

Impact and replicability

Proposals should:

  • Develop a long-term vision on how the Hydrogen Valley developed is expected to grow also in view of its potential role in an Important Project of Common European Interest that may be in the making;
  • Demonstrate the replicability and scalability of the project with the aim of facilitating further deployments of Hydrogen Valleys in other locations in Europe. Proposals should therefore address efforts to provide and transfer the learnings on how to best scale-up and transfer the solutions investigated within the selected territory to other interested areas. Proposal are therefore expected to develop a clear replication strategy and to engage with other regions in Europe, e.g. peer-to-peer exchange activities, to foster replication already during the duration of the action, with special attention placed on projects including Central and Eastern European regions where Hydrogen Valleys may be less developed at present. In doing this, proposals should address technical and economic feasibility and also aspects related to Regulation Codes and Standards. In that sense, learnings from previous similar projects (e.g. H2020 projects BIG-HIT[6], HEAVENN[7] and Hysland[8]) should be lifted in view of mutualising and standardising impact and replicability aspects. Proposals should demonstrate how they intend to create links with other Hydrogen Valleys initiatives in Europe (e.g. S3 Hydrogen Valleys Platform[9], HyLand[10] Regions in Germany), but also international (e.g. Mission Innovation 2.0 - Clean Hydrogen Mission[11]);
  • Include sufficiently targeted and professional communication activities and campaigns with the aim to increase public acceptance of hydrogen ecosystems. Given the flagship nature of this topic, the proposals are expected to pay attention to this aspect and to demonstrate how this would be professionally addressed.

Commitment of stakeholders and additional sources of financing/funding

Proposals should contain a calendar clearly defining the key phases of the implementation of the action (i.e. preparation of the specifications of equipment, manufacturing, deployment and operation) and their duration. Proposals should foresee enough time for monitoring and assessment.

Applicants may consider additional synergies with other Programmes (e.g. European Structural and Investment Funds, Recovery and Resilience Facility, Just Transition Fund, Connecting Europe Facility, Innovation Fund, Modernisation Fund, LIFE, etc.) and/or clustering with other projects within Horizon Europe or funded under other EU, national or regional programmes, or having loans through the EIB or other promotional or commercial banks; such synergies should be reflected in a financing structure and strategy describing the business model, including envisaged sources of co-funding/co-financing and in line with state-aid rules.

Evidence of the Commitment and role of public authorities (Member States, Regions and Cities) and of any other necessary stakeholders at least in the form of Letters of Intent (LOI) should be provided. The practical implementation of this LOI will be followed during the Grant Agreement implementation.

This topic is expected to contribute to EU competitiveness and industrial leadership by supporting a European value chain for hydrogen and fuel cell systems and components.

It is expected that Guarantees of origin (GOs) will be used to prove the renewable character of the hydrogen that is produced/used. In this respect consortium may seek out the issuance/purchase and subsequent cancellation of GOs from the relevant Member State issuing body and if that is not yet available the consortium may proceed with the issuance/purchase and cancellation of non-governmental certificates (e.g CertifHy[12]).

Proposals should provide a preliminary draft on ‘hydrogen safety planning and management’ at the project level, which will be further updated during project implementation.

Proposals are expected to contribute towards the activities of Mission Innovation 2.0 - Clean Hydrogen Mission. Cooperation with entities from Clean Hydrogen Mission member countries, which are neither EU Member States nor Horizon Europe Associated countries, is encouraged (see section International Cooperation).

The TRL of the applications in the project should be at least 6 at the beginning of the project while the overall concept should target a TRL 8 at the end of the project.

At least one partner in the consortium must be a member of either Hydrogen Europe or Hydrogen Europe Research.

The maximum Clean Hydrogen JU contribution that may be requested is EUR 25.00 million – proposals requesting Clean Hydrogen JU contributions above this amount will not be evaluated.

The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2022 Annual Work Plan and in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021–2022 which apply mutatis mutandis.

[1]For definition of flagship see section 5.3. of the Clean Hydrogen JU Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda 2021 – 2027



[4]For definition purposes, regions are those defined as such by the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/regions-and-cities/overview

[5]As defined in the EU Taxonomy – see: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:d84ec73c-c773-11eb-a925-01aa75ed71a1.0021.02/DOC_2&format=PDF, p.57