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The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research have presented a funding guideline for the provision of financial support to international hydrogen projects. The guideline, which was published yesterday in the Federal Gazette, is another important milestone in the successful ramp-up of the hydrogen economy. One thing is clear: in addition to building up generating capacities in Germany, we will also be reliant on imports of green hydrogen – and hence on international partnerships.

The funding guideline establishes yet another tool to support the international market ramp-up of green hydrogen in line with Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy. The new funding guideline will coexist alongside the H2Global foundation model, which was launched in the summer of 2021.
The funding guideline to support the international establishment of generating installations for green hydrogen is being implemented in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research:

  • Module 1 (Economic Affairs Ministry) comprises international projects for the generation of green hydrogen and its derivatives as well as for storage, transport and integrated uses in the fields of industrial application and experimental development. The funding is also targeted at integrated projects that cover several of these value creation processes.
  • Module 2 (Research Ministry) comprises associated international projects in the fields of basic research and industrial research, scientific studies and training measures.

In terms of state aid law, any funding granted under this guideline is based on the framework of the EU’s General Block Exemption Regulation in order to avoid notification and thus be able to provide timely support to projects in countries outside Europe (i.e. outside the EU and EFTA countries).

The goal of the funding is to promote the use of German technology abroad, to contribute to timely and targeted efforts to set up a global market for green hydrogen, and to prepare structures for the import of hydrogen.

While the new funding guideline for international hydrogen projects complements the H2Global foundation model that was launched in the summer of 2021, it has a different focus. The new funding guideline is a targeted measure to promote the use of German technology, with the place of use of the hydrogen that is generated being of lesser importance. In contrast, H2Global addresses the import of green hydrogen. The two instruments are therefore complementary to each other.

The funding guideline can be used to finance projects in countries that have set up an energy partnership with Germany. Germany is currently maintaining energy partnerships with more than 22 countries, with a particular emphasis being placed on hydrogen. However, we also believe there are ways to go beyond the existing energy partnerships and fund projects in other countries as well.

Depending on the specific circumstances under the General Block Exemption Regulation and on the size of the company, funding can be granted for 25-45% of eligible costs in each case. The maximum funding amount is €15 million per project and per applicant. The total volume of the funding guideline is set at €150 million per year.

As of today, an overall amount of €350 million has been earmarked for the funding to be granted under the guideline. The projects funded under the guideline must be implemented by the end of 2024.

Applicants in Module 1 must be headquartered in the European Union and have a permanent establishment or subsidiary in Germany at the time the funding is disbursed.

The funding guideline was published in the Federal Gazette on 4 October 2021, with entry into force on the same date. A project management agency is to be commissioned to administer the funding guideline.