Innovation fund: Low carbon innovation

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The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the world’s largest carbon pricing system, will provide revenue to the IF program by auctioning €450 million from emission allowances from 2020 to 2030, as well as any unused funds from the NER300 program. For the 2020-2030 period, funding may amount to around €38 billion, depending on the price of carbon credits issued.

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

Until date, there are two types of funding with several (normally three) calls each: for small-scale projects with total capital costs between €2.5 million and €7.5 million, and for large-scale projects with total capital expenditure above €7.5 million.

The third call for small-scale projects was launched in March 2023 with a planned budget of €100 million and will remain open until 19 September. The call text and application process will remain largely similar to those of the first and second call.

Projects need to be sufficiently mature in terms of planning, business model as well as financial and legal structure. 

Innovation Fund focuses on the following initiatives and type of projects:

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


The Innovation Fund (IF) program is one of the world’s leading funding initiatives for the development of innovative low-carbon technologies. IF focuses on truly innovative technologies and large flagship projects with European added value that can deliver significant CO2 emission reductions. It involves sharing the risk with project promoters to assist them in the demonstration phase of 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 projects in energy-intensive industries.
  • Better risk sharing of projects (higher subsidies).
  • More flexible support, following the cash flow needs of projects (up to 40% grant prepayment).
  • Simplified governance and simplified decision making.


Opening date

Next deadline

Deadline model


InnovFund-LS INNOVFUND Lump Sum Grants

30 March 2023 

19 September 2023


Scope: Europe

Budget: Around 38 B € (2020 - 2030)

Organization: European Commission

Nature of project : Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Mobility and Environment

  • Applicants must be legal entities: private, public entities 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.
  • Eligible countries are EU member states, Norway or Iceland
This call for proposals has two types of financing, depending on the volume of expenditure of the project:  

Small-scale projects

Large-scale projects

Size of the project

Between 2.5 M€ and 7.5 M€ CAPEX

> 7.5M€ CAPEX

Eligible activities

Renewables, energy-intensive industries, carbon capture and storage, energy storage.

Renewables, energy-intensive industries including carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), energy storage, substitute products and cross-cutting projects.

Application process

One phase

One phase.

Volume of support

Up to 60% of capital expenditure (CAPEX).

Up to 60% of the additional costs linked to the innovative low-carbon technology applied.

  • Activities supporting innovation in low-carbon technologies and processes in the sectors listed in Annex I of the 2003/87 ETS Directive, including environmentally safe carbon capture and utilisation (CCU) that contributes substantially to climate change mitigation, as well as substitutes.
  • Activities that help stimulate the construction and operation of projects that aim at environmentally safe capture and geological storage of CO2 (CCS).
  • Activities that help stimulate the construction and operation of renewable energy and energy storage technologies.

Eligible activities in small-scale and large-scale projects may vary, for more details on the two different types of project funding, we recommend to consult us.

With regard to the possible eligible applications for projects, they are very varied:

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