Science at the service of Europe

Research fund for Coal and steel

Keeping coal and steel competitive at lower environmental costs

The Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) programme supports the competitiveness of the coal and steel sectors by co-financing industrial research projects.

EU funding in 2010
€59.92 million

See Projects


View of smoke and power factories

The programme was created in 2003, following the expiry in 2002 of the 50-year old European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) Treaty, which initiated the process of European integration. The annual budget of €55-60 million comes from interest paid on ECSC residual assets. This budget is split between coal (27.2%) and steel (72.8%) and is managed separately from the EU R&D framework programmes.

As a solid fossil fuel, coal's main applications are in electricity generation, steel production and cement manufacturing. It will remain a key element of Europe's energy security. With 40% of world electricity production derived from coal, it will continue to play a pre-eminent role in a balanced energy mix for Europe. Coal is still abundant and, unlike oil, amply available in large quantities across the world in a variety of politically stable countries. Consequently, clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage for existing and future coal-fired electricity plants and increased efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions throughout the entire coal extraction and processing cycle, are essential if it is to become a sustainable energy source.