innovation fund


The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), is the largest carbon pricing system in the world and will provide revenues to the IF programme through the auctioning of 450 million € of emission allowances from 2020 to 2030, as well as any of the funds not implemented in the NER300 programme. For the period 2020-2030, funding may amount to around 10 billion €, depending on the price of the carbon credits issued.

Innovation Fund aims to contribute to the economic recovery of the EU in an environmentally sustainable way, helping companies to invest in energy and clean industries and boost their economic growth, create new local jobs and generate a competitive advantage for the EU’s industrial sector.

The first call for large innovative proposals was open until October 2020 and now it is the turn of the first to submit projects with a total capital expenditure between 2,500,000 and 7,500,000 euros (Small scale) that will be open until March 10, 2021.

Projects will be selected based on Efficiency to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, Degree of innovation, Project maturity, Scalability and Cost efficiency.

The Innovation Fund focuses on the following initiatives and types of projects:

  • Innovative low-carbon technologies and processes in energy-intensive industries, including carbon-intensive substitutes.
  • Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU)
  • Construction and operation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems
  • Innovative generation of renewable energy
  • Energy storage


  1. Expression of interest, where the effectiveness of the project, the degree of innovation and the level of maturity will be evaluated. Projects that meet only the first two criteria are eligible for the Project Development Assistance (PDA) phase.
  2. Full proposal, in which projects are evaluated on all criteria, including scalability and cost efficiency.

* For small-scale projects, the application process will have a single stage.

For grant funding, FI will support up to 60% of additional capital and operating expenses related to innovation or technological development. Grants will be disbursed in a flexible manner depending on the project’s funding needs, and taking into account the milestones achieved during the life of the project (measurable and verifiable reduction of GHG emissions).

In addition, up to 40% of the subsidies may be granted based on predefined milestones, even before the project is fully operational.

Learn more about the Innovation Fund program and its advantages

CALL: Innovation Fund
APPLICATION DEADLINE: until 10 March 2021
ORGANISING ENTITY: European Commission

The Innovation Fund (IF) program is one of the most important global initiatives in financing for the development of innovative low-carbon technologies. IF focuses on truly innovative technologies and large flagship projects with European added value that can bring significant reductions in CO2 emissions. The aim is to share the risk with the project promoters to help them in the demonstration phase of highly innovative and unique projects (first-of-a-kind highly innovative Projects).

Successor to the NER 300 program (2012-2014) funded by the EU Emissions Trading System includes the following improvements:

  • Open to energy-intensive industry projects
  • Better distribution of project risks (higher subsidies)
  • A more flexible support, following the cash flow needs of the projects (up to 40% pre-payment of the grant).
  • Simplified governance and simplified decision making
  • Applicants must be legal entities: private, public or international organizations.
  • Applicants must be directly responsible for the implementation and management of the project (no intermediaries)
  • Applicants may apply on their own or within a consortium.

This call has two types of funding depending on the volume of expenditure of the project:

Large (July 2021) Small (open)
Size of the project > 7.5M€ CAPEX < 7.5M€ CAPEX
Eligible Activities Energy-intensive industry
Carbon capture, use and storage
Application process Two phases One phase
Volume of support Up to 60% of the additional costs Up to 60% of total CAPEX
  • Activities to support innovation in low carbon technologies and processes in the sectors listed in Annex I of the ETS Directive, including
    environmentally safe carbon capture and utilization (ECC) that contributes substantially to climate change mitigation, as well as to substitutes.
  • Activities that help stimulate the construction and operation of projects that aim to capture and geologically store CO2 in an environmentally safe manner (CCS)
  • Activities that help stimulate the construction and operation of renewable energy and energy storage technologies

The possible eligible applications for the projects are very varied:

  • New plants
  • Modifications to existing plants
  • Product substitution
  • Innovative fuels / electro-fuels / use of biomass / electrification of existing plants
  • New products that save emissions in their use
  • New products that save emissions in their end-of-life treatment
  • Any combination of the above

Consult the viability of your projects