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TOPIC : Game changer High Temperature Steam Electrolysers

Topic identifier: FCH-02-2-2017
Publication date: 17 January 2017

Types of action: FCH2-RIA Research and Innovation action
Opening date:
17 January 2017
Deadline: 20 April 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-JTI-FCH-2017
Work Programme Part: FCH2 Work Plan 2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

High temperature electrolysers (HTE) can potentially replace fossil energy input with renewable electricity for the generation of hydrogen, for example in refineries and chemical industry, whereby available waste heat from the plant improves the efficiency of the electrolysis process.

This topic is aimed at a step change improvement in high temperature electrolyser technology to enable future commercial introduction.

This improvement can be on the level of the cell, stack or system layout. To develop a wider market, medium term targets for this technology are in relationship with step change and improvement in performances of the technology, trying to overcome some of the actual limiting factors and / or introducing novelties in the cell, stack and system layout able to catch better performances (e.g. current densities, cells and stacks dimensions, stack pressurization).

The improved high temperature electrolyser technology must be tested in a relevant environment.

In agreement to the MAWP, targets related to efficiency, OPEX, pressure, lifetime and cost of hydrogen need to be addressed and fulfilled by the high temperature steam electrolysers covered by that topic.


Proposals should focus on the development, and testing in a relevant environment, of a low-cost, high-temperature electrolyser system, targeting the following improvements which are in line with the MAWP targets, without compromising the other targets included in the MAWP:

  • Larger cells and stacks compared with the state of the art, for both atmospheric or pressurized operation: for atmospheric operation a value of at least 50 kW (electrical) per stack is targeted; for pressurized operation, a value of 10 kW (electrical) per stack is targeted;
  • Improve total electrical efficiency to above 75% based on higher heating value, in agreement with the MAWP KPI (> 2023 value);
  • Cost reduction through use of standard industry components (power electronics, heat exchangers,..), to decrease the cost of the hydrogen produced below 6.9 €/kg, in agreement with the MAWP KPI (2020 value);
  • All these improvements being done in conjunction with extended dynamic operation without decreasing the durability.

In addition, the proposal should address at least one of the following optional targets:

  • higher flexibility in start / stop, increasing 10 times the SoA performances;
  • high pressure electrolysis with hydrogen output pressure of at least 30 bars;
  • other step-change improvement in high temperature electrolysis.

The expected electrolysis system, including stack, balance of plant and power electronics, should be developed at a relevant scale. If an atmospheric system is considered, a minimum value of 50 kW electrical is considered, while it should exceed 10 kW in the case of a pressurized system.

Projects should feature:

  • Integration of the targeted improvement in a complete electrolyser system;
  • Coupling, including thermal management, of the system with a (waste) heat source;
  • Demonstration of the system in a relevant environment for at least 2000 hours.

Projects should further include the following analyses:

  • a techno-economic analysis of the technology, including projected hydrogen production cost as function of relevant parameters (electricity price, capital cost, stack lifetime, utilisation);
  • a life-cycle analysis including CO2 footprint in using the electrolyser;
  • recommendations for further development needs for commercialisation.

Testing should be done in accordance to the FCH JU harmonised testing procedures developed by the JRC in collaboration with European industry and researchers.

It is expected that the technology starts at TRL 3 and reaches TRL 5 at the end of the project.

The consortium should include at least one SOEC stack/module manufacturer, research institutions and academic groups.

Any safety-related event that may occur during execution of the project shall be reported to the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), which manages the European hydrogen safety reference database, HIAD (dedicated mailbox

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 3 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: 3 years

Expected Impact:

A step-change improvement in HT electrolysis, enabling additional commercial roll-out of HT electrolysers post 2025.

  • Improvement of AC electric efficiency above 90%HHV, which is well above MAWP KPI value for HTE in 2023, thanks to the thermal coupling with a heat source to avoid the energy consumption for steam production. Thanks to this, the OPEX will be much improved as compared to the KPI 1 set for PEM and alkaline electrolysis;
  • System cost below 8.8 M€/(t/d) with a route to further cost reduction to 2.7 M€/(t/d) post 2020. While there is no CAPEX values in the MAWP for HTE, those values position HTE only one step behind PEM and alkaline more mature technologies by comparison with alkaline and PEM electrolysis KPI set in MAWP;
  • Efficient use of renewable electricity to generate hydrogen for industry;
  • Technology demonstrated in a relevant environment, enabling potential roll-out in industry post 2025.
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. See the information in the Online Manual.

  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 FCH2 JU 2017 Work Plan 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”;
    - “For all Innovation Activities, an additional eligibility criterion has been introduced to limit the FCH 2 JU requested contribution”.

    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.

    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:

Research and Innovation Action:


         6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility
Classified information
Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions 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. See Part L of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme. 


        8. Additional documents:

FCH2 JU 2017 Work Plan
FCH2 JU Multi Annual Work Plan 
FCH2 JU – Regulation of establishment
Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Horizon 2020 Specific Programme


Additional documents

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