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London — The European Commission has proposed 10 new European partnerships and Eur10 billion ($12.15 billion) of funding to promote a green and digital transition, it said Feb. 23.

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The new partnerships aim to boost clean hydrogen production, develop efficient low-carbon aircraft and support the use of renewable biological raw materials in energy generation.

"The partnerships proposed today will mobilize resources, so that we can jointly make the most of digital technologies, not least in the interest of our green transition," said Margarethe Vestager, the European Commission's executive vice-president for a Europe fit for the digital age.

The EU will provide nearly Eur10 billion of funding that the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment, the EC said in a statement.

Clean hydrogen value chain

The proposed partnerships include a project to accelerate the development and deployment of a European value chain for clean hydrogen technologies, contributing to sustainable, decarbonized and fully integrated energy systems, the EC said.

Together with the Hydrogen Alliance, the project will contribute to the achievement of the EU's objectives set out in the EU hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe, which the EC unveiled in July 2020.

In that proposal, the EC said the current model where energy consumption in transport, industry, gas and buildings is happening in 'silos' – each with separate value chains, rules, infrastructure, planning and operations – cannot deliver climate neutrality by 2050 in a cost efficient way. It therefore said innovative solutions must be integrated, new links between sectors created and technological progress exploited.

The new clean hydrogen partnership "will focus on producing, distributing and storing clean hydrogen and on supplying sectors that are hard to decarbonize, such as heavy industries and heavy-duty transport applications," the EC said.

Sustainable aviation

Also among the new measures, a partnership on clean aviation aims to put the sector on a path to climate neutrality by accelerating the development and deployment of "disruptive research and innovation solutions," the EC said.

"It aims to develop the next generation of ultra-efficient low-carbon aircraft, with novel power sources, engines, and systems, improving competitiveness and employment in the aviation sector that will be especially important for the recovery," it said.

Other partnerships include a "circular bio-based Europe" which aims to develop and expand the sustainable sourcing and conversion of biomass into bio-based products. It also aims to support the deployment of bio-based innovation at regional level with the active involvement of local actors and with a view to reviving rural, coastal and peripheral regions, it said.

The new European partnerships come under Horizon Europe – an EU research and innovation program for the period 2021 to 2027 – which aims to improve and accelerate the development and uptake of new innovative solutions across multiple sectors by mobilizing public and private resources.