Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Development of innovative hydrogen purification technology based on membrane systems

Topic identifier: FCH-03-1-2016
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 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-JTI-FCH-2016
Work Programme Part: FCH2 Work Plan 2016
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Each year about 50 M ton of hydrogen is produced in majority at refineries by steam methane reforming. Most of it is purified using large pressure swing absorption systems. For a continuous flow of pure hydrogen, multiple units are required, operating in out-of-phase duty cycles, demanding a substantial investment for refineries and producing a waste fraction, normally used for heat generation. Especially at lower scale, PSA systems are not meeting cost targets (CAPEX & OPEX). For new hydrogen production methods without heat demand like biomass fermentation and for hydrogen from industrial hydrogen pipelines and underground caverns, innovative and lean hydrogen purification technologies, alternative to conventional purification technologies like PSA or cryogenic evaporation are needed.

This topic calls for proposals to develop innovative membrane based hydrogen purification methods fit for dynamic hydrogen demand at lower scale and high hydrogen purity requirements. NCNG applications are excluded from this topic.


The scope of this topic comprises the proof-of-concept and optimization of hydrogen purification technologies that meet the purity requirements for fuel cells used in stationary and transport applications. These systems should be optimized for stand-alone operation with minimum H2 concentration in the feed gas of 50%, used for purification from the new hydrogen production methods, delivery and storage sources.

Proposals for projects are expected to address small-scale clean-up steps of H2 produced from new production methods.

The project(s) shall take into account the following overall technology objectives:

  • Low overall energy consumption. This includes energy input, H2 losses and energy required for re-compression to input pressure. The operational cost of purification is expected to be a small fraction of the final hydrogen cost
  • Low investment cost. This includes small-scale gas clean-up and purification processes

The project should include:

  • Development of a stand-alone hydrogen purification system
  • Validation of the hydrogen purification technology in a relevant simulated environment
  • Cost assessment of the developed hydrogen purification technology, addressing operational and installation cost of the system including the required cleaning up processes and benchmarking with the conventional PSA

Projects are expected to start at TRL 3 and to reach TRL 5.

The FCH 2 JU considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 2 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

A maximum of 1 project will be funded under this topic

Expected Impact:

A step change in installation and operational cost for a membrane based, small scale stand-alone hydrogen purification system is expected:

  • The purification technology needs to show a hydrogen recovery of above 90%
  • Hydrogen purity must comply with the SAE2719 or ISO 14687-2/3 standards on hydrogen quality for fuel cell vehicles, reaching a minimum of 5 N
  • Output capacity (depending on H2 purity and feed gas flow) should range between 2-5 kgH2/day
  • Energy consumption of Hydrogen purification technology should be able to achieve 5 kWh/kg H2
  • Reduction of CAPEX compared to state of art (e.g. PSA purification) to 1500€/kg H2/day
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
Additional documents

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