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Call: Sustainability and educational aspects for renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL5-D3
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 5 - Destination 3: Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply"

This Destination includes activities targeting a sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply. In line with the scope of cluster 5, this includes activities in the areas of renewable energy; energy system, grids and storage; as well as Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS).

The transition of the energy system will rely on reducing the overall energy demand and making the energy supply side climate neutral. R&I actions will help to make the energy supply side cleaner, more secure, and competitive by boosting cost performance and reliability of a broad portfolio of renewable energy solutions, in line with societal needs and preferences. Furthermore, R&I activities will underpin the modernisation of the energy networks to support energy system integration, including the progressive electrification of demand side sectors (buildings, mobility, industry) and integration of other climate neutral, renewable energy carriers, such as clean hydrogen. Innovative energy storage solutions (including chemical, mechanical, electrical and thermal storage) are a key element of such energy system and R&I actions will advance their technological readiness for industrial-scale and domestic applications. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) is a CO2 emission abatement option that holds great potential and R&I actions will accelerate the development of CCUS in electricity generation and industry applications.

This Destination contributes to the following Strategic Plan’s Key Strategic Orientations (KSO):

  • C: Making Europe the first digitally enabled circular, climate-neutral and sustainable economy through the transformation of its mobility, energy, construction and production systems;
  • A: Promoting an open strategic autonomy[[‘Open strategic autonomy’ refers to the term ‘strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy’, as reflected in the conclusions of the European Council 1 – 2 October 2020.]] by leading the development of key digital, enabling and emerging technologies, sectors and value chains to accelerate and steer the digital and green transitions through human-centred technologies and innovations;

It covers the following impact areas:

  • Industrial leadership in key and emerging technologies that work for people;
  • Affordable and clean energy.

The expected impact, in line with the Strategic Plan, is to contribute to “More efficient, clean, sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply through new solutions for smart grids and energy systems based on more performant renewable energy solutions”, notably through

  1. Fostering European global leadership in affordable, secure and sustainable renewable energy technologies and services by improving their competitiveness in global value chains and their position in growth markets, notably through the diversification of the renewable services and technology portfolio (more detailed information below).
  2. Ensuring cost-effective uninterrupted and affordable supply of energy to households and industries in a scenario of high penetration of variable renewables and other new low carbon energy supply. This includes more efficient approaches to managing smart and cyber-secure energy grids and optimisation the interaction between producers, consumers, networks, infrastructures and vectors (more detailed information below).
  3. Accelerating the development of Carbon Capture, Use and Storage (CCUS) as a CO2 emission mitigation option in electricity generation and industry applications (including also conversion of CO2 to products) (more detailed information below).

Fostering the European global leadership in affordable, secure and sustainable renewable energy technologies

Renewable energy technologies provide major opportunities to replace or substitute carbon from fossil origin in the power sector and in other economic sectors such as heating/cooling, transportation, agriculture and industry. Their large scale and decentralised deployment is expected to create more jobs than the fossil fuel equivalent. Renewable energy technologies are the baseline on which to build a sustainable European and global climate-neutral future. A strong global European leadership in renewable energy technologies, coupled with circularity and sustainability, will pave the way to increase energy security and reliability.

It is imperative to enhance affordability, security, sustainability and efficiency for more established renewable energy technologies (such as wind energy, photovoltaics or bioenergy), and to further diversify the technology portfolio. Furthermore, advanced renewable fuels, including synthetic and sustainable advanced biofuels, are also needed to provide long-term carbon-neutral solutions for the transport and energy-intensive industrial sectors, in particular for applications where direct electrification is not a technically and cost efficient option.

Synergies with activities in cluster 4 are possible for integrating renewable energy technologies and solutions in energy consuming industries. Complementarities with cluster 6 concern mainly biomass-related activities.

In line with the “do not harm” principle for the environment, actions for all renewable energy technologies aim to also improve the environmental sustainability of the technologies, delivering products with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved environmental performance regarding water use, circularity, pollution and ecosystems. In particular, for biofuels and bioenergy improving the environmental sustainability is associated to the biomass conversion part of the value chain and the quality of the product, while air pollution associated to combustion in engines falls in the scope of other parts of the WP.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting the renewable energy technologies and solutions under this Destination are:

  1. Availability of disruptive renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies and systems in 2050 in order to accelerate the replacement of fossil-based energy technologies.
  2. Reduced cost and improved efficiency of renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies and their value chains.
  3. De-risking of renewable energy and fuel technologies with a view to their commercial exploitation and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  4. Better integration of renewable energy and renewable fuel-based solutions in energy consuming sectors.
  5. Reinforced European scientific basis and European export potential for renewable energy technologies through international collaboration (notably with Africa in renewable energy technologies and renewable fuels and enhanced collaboration with Mission Innovation countries).
  6. Enhanced sustainability of renewable energy and renewable fuels value chains, taking fully into account social, economic and environmental aspects in line with the European Green Deal priorities.
  7. More effective market uptake of renewable energy and fuel technologies.

Energy systems, grids and storage

Efficient and effective network management is the key to the integration of renewables in an efficient way that ensures cost-effectiveness and affordability, security of supply and grid stability. Real time monitoring and optimisation are necessary to increase the flexibility, through solutions such as storage, demand response or flexible generation among others, to integrate higher shares of variable renewable energy. Exploiting synergies between electricity, heating and cooling networks, gas networks, transport infrastructure and digital infrastructure will be crucial for enabling the smart, integrated, flexible, green and sustainable operation of the relevant infrastructures. Besides hydrogen and batteries (addressed elsewhere), R&I in other storage technologies, in particular thermal storage but also electrochemical, chemical, mechanical and electrical storage solutions is necessary to create a set of flexibility options.

Activities on energy systems, grids and storage under this Destination will primarily focus on the systemic aspects to enhance the flexibility and resilience of the system, in particular: integrated energy system planning and operation, engaging consumers and providing new services, electricity system reliability and resilience, storage development and integration and green digitalisation of the energy system.

Moreover, the role of citizens and communities is key when it comes to making the flexibility at appliance level available for the grid. Related to this, the inclusion of social sciences and humanities (SSH) where relevant is essential to build the social acceptance of new energy technologies and increase participation of consumers in energy markets.

All projects will contribute to an increased capacity of the system to integrate renewable energy sources and less curtailment at transmission and distribution level. The main expected impacts are:

  1. Increased resilience of the energy system based on improved and/or new technologies to control the system and maintain system stability under difficult circumstances.
  2. Increased flexibility and resilience of the energy system, based on technologies and tools to plan and operate different networks for different energy carriers simultaneously in a coordinated manner that will also contribute to climate neutrality of hard-to-electrify sectors.
  3. Enhance consumer satisfaction and increased system flexibility thanks to enabling consumers to benefit from data-driven energy services and facilitating their investment and engagement in the energy transition, through self-consumption, demand response or joint investments in renewables (either individually or through energy communities or micro-grids).
  4. Improved energy storage technologies, in particular heat storage but also others such as electrochemical, chemical, mechanical and electrical.
  5. Foster the European market for new energy services and business models as well as tested standardised and open interfaces of energy devices through a higher degree of interoperability, increased data availability and easier data exchange among energy companies as well as companies using energy system data.
  6. More effective and efficient solutions for transporting off-shore energy thanks to new electricity transmission technologies, in particular using superconducting technologies, power electronics and hybrid Alternate Current – Direct Current grid solutions as well as MT HVDC (Multi Terminal High Voltage Direct Current) solutions.

Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)

CCUS will play a crucial role in the EU Green Deal for the transition of energy-intensive industries and the power sector towards climate neutrality. Supporting R&I for CCUS will be particularly important in those industries where other alternatives do not yet exist like the cement industry. This will be highly relevant towards 2050, when most electricity will be coming from renewables, but the need to tackle the process emissions from industry will continue. If CCUS is combined with sustainable biomass, it could create negative emissions.

Low carbon hydrogen from natural gas with CCUS could also play a significant role in industrial climate neutrality, in the transition towards full use of hydrogen from renewable sources, in particular in industries such as steel making, chemicals, or refining where large quantities of hydrogen are needed. CCUS would enable early, clean hydrogen at scale. The hydrogen infrastructure built for clean hydrogen with CCUS could be also shared by hydrogen from renewable sources. It is thus important to develop CCUS for industrial clusters, including aspects of system planning, shared infrastructure solutions such as buffer storage, shared CO2 and hydrogen transportation and infrastructure optimisation for CCS and CCU.

Demonstration of the full CCUS chain is needed in the EU, with special emphasis on the reduction of the energy penalty and cost of capture and on ascertaining safe storage. Under the EU Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) ambitious R&I targets have been set in agreement with the sectorial stakeholders. The focus is on CO2 storage appraisal, cost-reductions, new technologies and proliferation of pilots and demonstrators.

Synergies with cluster 4 exist on the use of CO2.

The main impacts to be generated by topics targeting the renewable energy technologies and solutions under this Destination are:

  1. Accelerated rollout of infrastructure for CCUS hubs and clusters.
  2. Updated authoritative body of knowledge on connecting industrial CO2 sources with potential ‘bankable storage sites, providing greater confidence for decision makers and investors.
  3. Proven feasibility of integrating CO2 capture, CO2 storage and CO2 use in industrial facilities. Demonstrating these technologies at industrial scale shall pave the way for subsequent first-of-a-kind industrial projects.
  4. Reduced cost of the CCUS value chain, with CO2 capture being still the most relevant stumbling block for a wider application of CCUS.
  5. Adequate frameworks for Measurement, Monitoring and Verification (MMV) for storage projects, to document safe storage and for public acceptance of the technology.
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Call
Sustainability and educational aspects for renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies
Description of call
" Sustainability and educational aspects for renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies"

Expected Outcome

The EU has ambitious goals to tackle the ongoing climate crisis, noteworthy being the aim to be a fully climate-neutral continent by 2050. Thus a framework needs to be established where sustainability and educational aspects for renewable energy and fuel technologies is addressed. Further, these actions need to engage with stakeholders at different levels (policymakers, regulators, innovators, industry, trade associations, universities and local communities) in order to align priorities and needs, while also identifying possibly overlooked challenges.

In this context, and taking into consideration circularity and sustainability, project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Enhance and promote sustainability by addressing social and environmental aspects (air pollution, waste management, job opportunities, wildlife concerns, etc.) of renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies at a global level, thus ensuring the European Green Deal priorities are met.
  • Support the development of training and reskilling efforts in the renewable energy and renewable fuel technology sectors, while also identifying (global and local) challenges, to realise the large deployment ambitions of the European Green Deal, and the various sectorial strategies under it (such as the recent Offshore Renewable Energy Strategy) and its external dimension.
  • Support and promote circularity concepts and approaches (such as circular- and/or recyclable-by-design) in line with the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Action Plan on Critical Raw Materials.

Scope

In this topic, sustainability is meant in environmental, social and economic terms. The proposal is expected to address all the following aspects:

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.

  • Coordinate the stakeholder community and propose concrete actions to promote and accelerate the development of sustainable solutions for renewable energy and renewable fuel technologies, encompassing ‘circularity-by-design’ (with special attention to life cycle assessment of the entire value chain, including critical raw materials and gradual substitution of fossil fuels), and identifying and assessing relevant externalities.
  • Set up and initiate a structured programme to promote an innovative multi-disciplinary approach on teaching and engaging with the sustainability of all forms of renewable energy. The proposal should also actively engage with European universities in this matter. Special consideration to gender balance issues should also be given. A clear post-project life for such programme should also be addressed.
  • Develop and run an industry-academia programme focused on hands-on training. This programme should identify the required skills needed for the sustainability of renewable technologies, identify and act on knowledge gaps, and identify retraining opportunities based on revamped training curricula and course content. These concerted actions are expected to develop human capital in innovative new technologies through education and training.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Research & Innovation, Technology Transfer & Exchange, Climate, Climate Change, Environment & Biodiversity, Clustering, Development Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, Green Technologies & Green Deal, Administration & Governance, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Public Services, National Government, Education and Training Centres, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Research Institution, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Start Up Company, Other, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State;and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Call opens 24.06.2021
Call closes 05.01.2022
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 30 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of around EUR 2.50 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 10.00 million.
Typ of ActionCoordination and Support Actions (CSA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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