€22 Billion EU Plan Funds Bio-Based Business, Fuel Cells and Green Aviation

The EU has unveiled a €22 billion research and innovation program that funds bio-based industries, fuel cells and hydrogen research, and greener aviation. 

The European Commission, EU member states and European industry will invest more than €22 billion over the next seven years in innovation for sectors that deliver high quality jobs.

It will involve five public-private partnerships, also including innovative medicines and electronics. 

The partnerships “will find solutions to major challenges for society that are not being solved quickly enough by the market alone, such as reducing carbon emissions or providing the next generation of antibiotics”, the European Commission says. 

The program involves €3.8 billion for bio-based industries, to promote the use of various sources of sustainable biomass and waste to produce everyday products such as food, feed, chemicals and fuels.

“The emerging bio-based industry sector is set be the game-changer for stimulating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe,” says Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. 

“By finding commercially viable ways of generating fuel and other products from plants and waste, it will significantly reduce our dependency on oil, help us meet climate change targets, and lead to greener and more environmentally friendly growth.” 

Fuel Cells & Hydrogen

Meanwhile, the European Commission and the private sector have pledged €700 million each for the second phase of the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Technology Initiative.

Set up in 2008, the initiative is developing a portfolio of clean, efficient and affordable fuel cells and hydrogen technologies to the point of market introduction.

Its first phase, with a budget of €940 million, has already brought together over 1100 participants: 183 research organizations; 387 universities; and 111 private sector enterprises.

Its specific objectives include:

  • Reducing the cost of fuel cell systems for transport applications by a factor of 10;
  • Increasing the electrical efficiency of fuel cells for power production by 10%; and
  • Demonstrating the viability of large-scale hydrogen production from electricity generated from renewable energy sources.

Clean Skies

The package also includes €4.05 billion for the Clean Sky 2 Joint Technology Initiative, which aims to develop and demonstrate breakthrough technologies for the civil aircraft market to reduce aircraft emissions and noise.

It brings together Europe’s aeronautics industrial leaders and public research organizations to achieve these objectives:

  • Increasing aircraft fuel efficiency, thus reducing CO2 emissions by 20 to 30%; and
  • Reducing aircraft NOx and noise emissions by 20-30% compared to “state-of-the-art” aircraft entering into service as from 2014. 

Geoghegan-Quinn adds: "These initiatives not only strengthen our economy, they are an investment in a better quality of life. Working together will enable us to tackle issues that no one company or country can deal with alone."

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