Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Disruptive innovation in clean energy technologies

Topic identifier: LC-SC3-RES-2-2018
Publication date: 27 October 2017
Focus area: Building a low-carbon, climate resilient future (LC)

Types of action: RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
05 December 2017
Deadline: 19 April 2018 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Secure, clean and efficient energy
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

The challenge is to take exceptionally promising and innovative energy solutions with high potential impact to real breakthrough and market application. Boosting the breakthrough of particular promising technologies requires both a focused and adaptive approach, to secure that investment brings innovation that is taken up by the market - or discontinues an investment that has too limited expected impact. Specific fields where disruptive rather than incremental innovation is needed are the integration of renewable energy into smart buildings, and sustainable fuels. A specific challenge is to develop efficient fully transparent photovoltaic (PV) cells that only absorb light in the non-visible part of the spectrum, so that they can be integrated on a wide scale as windows in buildings. Another specific challenge is to enable production of sufficient quantities of liquid fuels that do not compete with food for land, do not displace land uses, are cost competitive to fossil fuels and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Proposals are invited in (only) one of the following two sub-topics:

  • Photovoltaic windows ('transparent' solar cells): development of transparent and economically viable PV cells for integration in building applications. Projects should demonstrate a prototype 'PV window' which allows the visible light to pass through unhampered, and has the potential to achieve the lifetime and conversion efficiency of commercial PV modules (resp. 25 years and at least 12%).
  • Bionic leaf technology: advanced renewable fuel production through biological conversion of CO2 and renewable hydrogen in the presence of inorganic catalysts. The process is based on first using solar energy to split water molecules and then using bacteria to consume the hydrogen together with CO2 to produce fuel, and currently has an efficiency of 10%. Projects should advance the overall efficiency of the process for existing or new biosynthetic systems up to 15% under ambient air conditions by enhancing the water splitting efficiency and improving the engineering of bacteria and their interface with the catalysts in order to boost their growth at all conditions.

Proposals are expected to bring the technologies from TRL 3 to at least 5. Proposals need to demonstrate a clear technology development roadmap for their solutions, including a strong exploitation plan presenting their business opportunities and impact potential. The technological development risks need to be clearly identified and relevant mitigation measures given. Life cycle analysis shall be considered.

Projects selected under this pilot will follow a stage-gate approach based on milestones and periodic reviews. A first review by the Commission - with the help of independent experts - will take place after 6 months, based on an assessment by InnoEnergy[1] of the feasibility and innovation potential of the proposed solution or application, analysing a.o. the business and innovation strategy, the technology readiness level of the proposed application, the consortium's freedom to operate (e.g. background, foreground, IP), and the market. This review will lead to a first go/no go decision.

Throughout the duration of the Grant Agreement, and agreed therein, Inno Energy will be involved in providing support to innovation and business development, including completing the market uptake supply chain, using external expertise, with the aim to strengthen the consortium's innovation performance.

The Commission considers the proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between 2 to 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Transparent, visually non-intrusive PV windows have a significant market potential, because they could be fitted to existing buildings, without the need to cover large new areas to collect solar energy; every glass surface could produce solar power. As such PV windows block much of the infrared radiation, they would cut down on air conditioning needs, further reducing energy use and operating costs in buildings.

An economically viable bionic leaf technology with increased efficiency well beyond the state-of-the-art has significant market potential and environmental impact, because it will enable development of sustainable fuel for transport that will completely replace fossil fuels and their best alternatives. Converting 50% of all industrial CO2 emissions into fuels using this process at an efficiency of only 15% would avoid half of today's transport GHG emissions. Moreover, this will improve Europe's energy security while at the same time create economic growth.

Delegation Exception Footnote:

This pilot is excluded from the delegation to Executive Agencies and will be implemented by the Commission services.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Open Innovation
Clean Energy


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 (single-stage call): 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

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
10. Secure, clean and efficient energy 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.


Additional documents

  • H2020-LC-SC3-2018-Joint-Actions-3_Flash Call Info (call results) en

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