Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Retrofit Solutions and Next Generation Propulsion for Waterborne Transport

Topic identifier: LC-MG-1-8-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
IA Innovation action
Opening date:
05 September 2018
2nd stage Deadline:
16 January 2019 17:00:00
12 September 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Updates
  • 25 July 2018 00:01

     Please note that the description of topic LC-MG-1-8-2019 has been updated further to the revised version of the H2020 Work Programme that has been published on 25 July 2018.

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Emissions from waterborne transport remain a challenge particularly concerning the water and air quality around coasts, ports and urban areas. For shipping and inland waterway transport retrofit technology including for example engine modifications, engine replacement, exhaust gas cleaning systems, PM filters, hybrid batteries, fuel changes, efficient emissions capture and storage system can potentially improve the environmental performance (CO2, NOx, SOx, PM) of existing fleets within the next five to ten years. However, new next generation vessels are expected to be both cleaner and more CO2 efficient. Vessels will be increasingly electrified and hybridised use clean fuels, on board energy storage and employ new technologies such as optimised design, batteries and high power fuels cells integrated within dual cycles and with combined heat and power. Novel large area propulsion systems also offer the possibility of large efficiency gains. To maximise efficiency gains from these technologies a radical rethink of ship design is needed.


To address these challenges, proposals should address one of the following two subtopics and clearly indicate which subtopic is addressed:

Subtopic A) To be implemented through Research and Innovation Action.

  • Develop and validate a concept for a passenger ship powered primarily by high power fuel cells and if more efficient, in combination with a combustion engine or turbine as a combined cycle. On board power should exceed 5 MW and the concept should address issues concerning; combined heat and power, battery hybridisation, reliability, environmental performance on the whole life cycle, safety, regulatory, cost, ship design and layout, power system weight, volume and service requirements. The concept should be founded using LNG or LBG or CBG or synthetic fuels with the additional consideration of the consequences of 100% hydrogen operation. In addition, the critical barriers to development and deployment should be identified together with a road map for their solution. Work is expected to focus on the integration of fuel cell technology within the ship and not the detailed internal design of the fuel cell. Work should build upon other relevant activities such as the development of the IGF code within IMO.

Subtopic B) To be implemented through Innovation Action.

Proposals should address one or more of the following aspects:

  • Develop and validate to at least TRL 5 innovative next generation high efficiency propulsion systems for ships using electrification and or clean fuels and or renewable energy sources. Consider all aspects of the ship propulsion system including related materials, electrical systems, energy storage and impact on ship design leading towards a zero emission maritime transport.
  • Develop and validate to TRL 5 highly innovative large area high efficiency or renewable energy assistance propulsion systems such as whale tales, novel wind power or bio mimic devices and their integration into the ship design. Demonstrate and assess on the whole life cycle, reliability, materials and efficiency at large model scale within a variety of conditions. Consider hydrodynamic and overall efficiency, endurance, reliability, materials, biofouling, noise, manufacture and cost.
  • Develop and demonstrate to TRL 6 innovative, cost effective retrofit solutions for marine shipping which will provide substantial improvements in terms of environmental impact and life cycle cost. Solutions must significantly reduce emission in line with water and air quality objectives and even exceeding current legislative requirements, particularly around ports and urban areas. In combination with distillate fuels, solutions must significantly reduce NOX, SOX and particulate matters (PM), particularly for the most harmful particle sizes, particularly within coastal and port areas. Operational requirements, cost benefits, including effluent disposal costs and procedures shall be considered. Disseminate outcomes and facilitate take up by key stakeholders.
  • Develop and demonstrate to TRL 6 innovative, cost effective retrofit solutions for inland waterways which will provide substantial improvements in environmental performance. Solutions must significantly reduce emissions at least in compliance and preferably exceeding water and air quality requirements, particularly around terminals and urban areas. In combination with current compliance options (distillates or other low sulphur fuels, required engine operating parameters,…) solutions must meet regulatory requirements and significantly reduce NOX, SOX and ultrafine particulates, particularly for the most harmful particle sizes (including ultrafine particles), particularly within urban, port and terminal areas. Operational requirements, approvals, financing, cost benefits, including effluent disposal costs and procedures shall be considered. Disseminate outcomes and facilitate take up by key stakeholders.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a budget from the EU of between EUR 4 to 8 million each for Subtopic A and between EUR 3 to 5 million each for Subtopic B, would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Next generation propulsion solutions will enable a large (>10%) increase in energy efficiency and CO2 reduction. Enable integration of large high power marine fuel cells into ship design and demonstrate their feasibility, cost effectiveness and identify technical barriers to adoption. Enable innovative high efficiency low emission ship propulsion system that may integrate several power sources. Demonstrate the feasibility, efficiency gains, reliability and cost effectiveness of large area propulsers. Retrofit solutions will reduce SOx, NOx and PM pollution from waterborne transport, particularly around ports, terminals, urban and coastal regions and in compliance with urban air quality standards but also at open sea since air pollution can travel large distances. Significantly, increase the take up of retrofit emission reduction solutions in existing vessels. Enhance European competitiveness and support European jobs and growth. Facilitate deployment of innovative green waterborne transport technology.

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
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. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme. 


Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme.  
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (two-stage call):
For stage 1: maximum 3 months from the deadline for submission.
For stage 2: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Research and Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
Annotated Grant Agreement

Innovation Action:

Specific provisions and funding rates
Standard proposal template
Standard evaluation form
General MGA - Multi-Beneficiary
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

Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-20        
11. Smart, green and integrated transport WP 2018-20      
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

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.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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Submission Service

To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Innovation action [IA]
Topic Retrofit Solutions and Next Generation Propulsion for Waterborne Transport - LC-MG-1-8-2019
Type of Action Research and Innovation action [RIA]
Topic Retrofit Solutions and Next Generation Propulsion for Waterborne Transport - LC-MG-1-8-2019
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