Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Co-generation of hydrogen and electricity with high-temperature fuel cells

Topic identifier: FCH-02-4-2016
Publication date: 19 January 2016

Types of action: FCH2-RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
19 January 2016
Deadline: 03 May 2016 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

High temperature fuel cells are typically used to produce power and heat from natural gas or bio-methane at high efficiency. In this process, a hydrogen containing syngas is often produced as an intermediate step.

The specific challenge of this topic is to convert part of this syngas into a hydrogen stream, while maintaining the high efficiency of the overall system. The system would thus supply power, hydrogen and possibly heat, with flexibility to modulate between these products to cope with changing demand.

The results of a project should enable the development of a distributed hydrogen production system and stationary applications.


This topic calls for the development of a solid oxide fuel cell based system to produce hydrogen and electricity from methane rich sources (natural gas or bio-methane) with high efficiency.

  • Design and construction of a prototype system, with a fuel cell stack capable to produce at least 20kg/day of hydrogen from for example natural gas;
    • with efficiency of at least 65% at the design point calculated as (kWh of DC power out + kWh H2 out based on LHV)/(kWh NG in based on LHV);
    • With hydrogen to power modulation between 0 (only electricity produced) and 1 (50% electricity and 50% hydrogen produced).
  • Testing of the system for at least 1000 hours producing electricity and hydrogen at a purity of 99.9%, including at least 5 cold starts;
  • Perform a lifecycle analysis to provide CO2 and energy footprint of the system and compare these to other relevant ways of hydrogen and power generation;
  • The design, on paper, of a full-scale production unit that could supply hydrogen to a hydrogen station with 200 kg/day capacity at cost below 4.5 €/kg (fossil base) or 7.0 €/kg (renewables based);
  • An investigation of how potential heat output could be used in a distributed hydrogen production situation, for example to provide cooling of hydrogen.

Consortia should include at least one SOFC technology provider with proven experience with SOFC systems, at least an equipment producer and at least one partner with experience in hydrogen station operation to ensure the whole value chain of this technology is present in the project.

Project proposals should show a clear route to market.

Projects are expected to start at TRL 4 and to reach at least TRL 6.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 4 million would allow the specific challenges to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected duration: max 4 years

A maximum of 1 project may be funded under this topic.

Expected Impact:

The project is expected to demonstrate the potential for high temperature fuel cells to produce hydrogen and power at higher efficiency than conventional technologies (on-site SMR and grid power) and to bring this technology close to the demonstration stage. This is expected to lead to:

  • more efficient energy use and lower cost of hydrogen production
  • more energy efficient electricity grid stabilisation compared to existing technologies (mainly gas turbines)
  • lower cost of grid stabilisation compared to existing technologies (mainly gas turbines) because the system is used continuously and not only as back-up
Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme. The following exceptions apply (see 'chapter 3.3. Call management rules' from the AWP2016 and specific topic description):  'For some, well-identified topics it is therefore duly justified to require as an additional condition for participation that at least one constituent entity of the Industry Grouping or Research Grouping is among the participants in the consortium.'

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the FCH2 JU proposal template.
  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme. As part of the Panel Review, hearings will be organised for Innovation Actions (IA) proposals. 

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    FCH2 JU Research and Innovation Action (FCH2-RIA):

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Proposal templates are available after entering the submission tool below.
    Standard evaluation form
    FCH2 JU Model Grant Agreement
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
    Classified information
    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.
    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

  8. Additional documents:

    FCH2 JU 2016 Work Plan
    FCH2 JU Multi Annual Work Plan
    FCH2 JU – Regulation of establishment
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 - Regulation of Establishment
    Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation

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