Funding competition Net Zero Hydrogen Fund: Strand 1 Development Expenditure Round 2

Strand 1 of the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund will provide development expenditure (DEVEX) support for front end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED studies for new low carbon hydrogen production facilities.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


This competition will support development expenditure (DEVEX) costs for front end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED studies. The aim is to build the pipeline of hydrogen production projects and measurably move them closer to deployment. This competition supports multiple hydrogen production pathways.

The aim of the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) is to provide capital expenditure (CAPEX) and development expenditure (DEVEX). This will support the commercial deployment of new low carbon hydrogen production projects during the 2020s.

This is to ensure the UK has a diverse and secure decarbonised energy system fit for meeting our ambition of up to 10GW low carbon hydrogen production by 2030, and commitment to reach net zero by 2050.

The NZHF will deliver up to £240 million via four strands as follows:

Strand 1: Development expenditure (DEVEX) support for front end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED studies, to grow the future pipeline of hydrogen projects in the UK (this strand).

Strand 2: Capital expenditure (CAPEX) for projects that do not require a hydrogen specific business model. These are low carbon hydrogen projects that can deploy on the basis of capital expenditure support and are able to start construction rapidly.

Strand 3: CAPEX for projects that require a Hydrogen production business model and sit outside of the Phase 2 cluster sequencing process.

Strand 4: CAPEX for carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) enabled projects that require a hydrogen specific business model and are part of the Phase 2 cluster sequencing process.

This competition relates to Strand 1 (Round 2) only.

Your proposal for this strand must demonstrate how you will develop a credible project that will contribute to the at-scale production of low carbon hydrogen by 2025. Funded projects must support the delivery of the 10GW production ambition by 2030 set out in the Energy Security Strategy.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that they are entering the appropriate competition strand for their project.

You will not be able to transfer your application between strands and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11 am UK time on the deadline stated.

We reserve the right to cancel the competition and amend or vary the competition processes, including any envisaged stage and any document issued pursuant to it, at any point and for any reason.

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total grant request must be between £80,000 and £10 million.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a total grant request of between £80,000 and £10 million
  • start by 1 November 2023
  • end by 31 March 2025
  • last between 6 and 17 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK and be able to demonstrate relevant commercial engagement
  • be using core technology that has been tested in a commercial environment, Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 7 or more
  • meet the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard Version 2 (LCHS v2)

If your total grant funding request or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 20 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by us, you will be made ineligible and your application will not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must be a UK registered business of any size.

You will not be permitted to change your company structure or the lead organisation after you have submitted your application. Doing so may disqualify you from the competition.

Academic institutions, research and technology organisations (RTOs), public sector organisations or charities cannot lead or work alone.

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into the Innovation Funding Service.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and overseas.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

In this strand a business can lead on up to 2 applications, which must be materially different, and can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

An academic institution, research and technology organisation (RTO), charity, not for profit or public sector organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

You must amend your application based on the updated scope and questions for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.


Up to £45 million is available for projects across strands 1 and 2 for this round of the competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The total funding available for this competition can change.

The funders have the right to:

  • adjust the funding allocations between the two competition stages
  • apply a ‘portfolio’ approach

The breakdown between Strands 1 and 2 is not fixed, but the NZHF is primarily a deployment fund and this may influence your expectations on funding for Strand 1.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For development expenditure (DEVEX) support you could get funding of up to 50% of your eligible project costs if you are a UK registered business of any size.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of your project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them.

Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-s registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your eligible project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Your proposal

This competition will support development expenditure (DEVEX) costs for front end engineering design (FEED) and post-FEED studies. The aim is to build the pipeline of hydrogen production projects and measurably move them closer to deployment.

This competition supports the following hydrogen production pathways as listed in the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard Version 2 (LCHS v2):

  • electrolysis
  • natural gas reforming, with carbon capture and storage (CCUS)
  • biomass or waste conversion to hydrogen, with or without CCUS

If a CCUS-enabled project is unable to access a track-1 or track 2 cluster, including any expanded track-1 clusters, then we will reserve the right to reject their application on the basis that the project does not have a clear route to market.

Your project must address low carbon hydrogen production opportunities and must focus on FEED studies, post-FEED studies or both.

FEED studies can include:

  • equipment definition, for example equipment data sheets, specifications
  • equipment pricing, for example bid lists, bid packages
  • plant layout and model, for example plot plan
  • material quantification, for example material take-off, physical drawings
  • engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and execution planning, for example EPC schedule, contract plan
  • cost estimation, for example capital costs, operating costs
  • commercial proposal, for example cost, schedule, performance guarantees
  • environmental impacts and mitigation

Post-FEED and pre-final investment decision (pre-FID) studies can include:

  • refinement of the outputs of FEED, particularly the cost estimates
  • planning applications

These lists are not exhaustive.

Hydrogen production projects will be able to apply for co-funding through this strand if they require DEVEX support for the cost of front-end engineering design (FEED), post-FEED expenditures, or both. Where appropriate, support will also be available for FEED and post-FEED costs for associated on-site transport and storage infrastructure.

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across this competition, based on:

  • geographical location
  • project scale and replicability
  • project cost and funding available
  • project timescales
  • hydrogen production technology type
  • hydrogen production commercial readiness
  • alignment with and contribution to wider cross-economy decarbonisation
  • environmental impacts
  • use of additional low carbon electricity
  • affordability considerations, for example, longer term cost to the taxpayer
  • projects awarded funding through related BEIS and UKRI competitions
  • offtaker type
  • additionality of electricity and wider system benefits

This will support the twin-track approach to hydrogen production as outlined in the UK Hydrogen Strategy.

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects to support preparation for deployment, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that:

  • do not focus on low carbon hydrogen production at scale and the immediate supply chains
  • produce hydrogen that is not compliant with the low carbon hydrogen standard
  • have total grant requests or timescales outside the specified range and have not been approved in advance by Innovate UK

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

We will not fund the following costs for projects:

  • deposits on long lead items
  • grid connection fees
  • buying physical equipment or services necessary to deliver your project
  • financial and banking advisory costs
  • legal advisory costs
  • regulatory support costs
  • tax advisory costs
  • insurance advisory costs
  • commercial advisory costs

11 April 2023
Competition opens
19 April 2023
Online briefing event: Watch the recording
31 May 2023 11:00am
Competition closes
14 July 2023
Invite to interview
14 August 2023
Interview panel
15 September 2023 4:12pm
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete
  • if collaborative, that all partners have completed all assigned sections and accepted the terms and conditions (T&Cs) within the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) portal

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

1.Project details.

2.Application questions.


Accessibility and inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us. Read more on how we are making our application process more accessible and inclusive for everyone.

You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.

You can contact us by emailing or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).


If your application passes the first stage of assessment, you may be invited to attend an interview, where you must give a presentation. Your interview will take place either online or at a designated location. The date and time of your interview will be included in your invitation.

Before the interview and by the deadlines stated in the invitation email, you:

  • must provide the additional financial information within 10 working days
  • must send a list of who will attend the interview
  • must send your interview presentation slides
  • must send a written response to the assessors’ feedback

List of attendees

Agree the list with your consortium. Up to 5 people from your project can attend, ideally one person from each organisation. They must all be available on all published interview dates. We are unable to reschedule slots once allocated.

Presentation slides

Your interview presentation must:

  • use Microsoft PowerPoint
  • be no longer than 30 minutes
  • have no more than 20 slides
  • not include any video or embedded web links

You cannot change the presentation after you submit it or bring any additional materials to the interview.

Written response to assessor feedback

This is an opportunity to answer the assessors’ concerns. It can:

  • be up to 3 A4 pages in a single PDF
  • include charts or diagrams

Additional Financial Information

You will need to provide additional financial information within 10 working days of being notified that you have passed the initial assessment stage of the competition.

The lead applicant must provide:

  • your signed and audited accounts for the previous two financial years
  • your ultimate parent company's signed accounts for the previous two financial years, if applicable
  • company forecast accounts covering the remainder of this financial year and a further four financial years
  • financial forecasting for the project, including calculated return on investment and financial viability of the project

All documents must be provided in PDF format.


After your presentation the panel will spend up to 90 minutes asking questions. You will be expected to answer based on the information you provided in your application form, presentation and the response to feedback.

After your interview

The interview panel will prepare a list of projects recommended for funding, based on the new knowledge gained from the interviews. They will also take into account the portfolio design criteria for the competition. This list will be reviewed by an Innovate UK led funding panel and approved for submission to Department for Energy Security and Net Zero ministers for a final decision.

If recommended, you will receive a notification on having successfully passed the technical assessment from Innovate UK. Your grant offer will be subject to you receiving Department for Energy Security and Net Zero ministerial approval and successfully completing due diligence checks.

If your application is successful, we will require the following guarantees during the due diligence process:

  • for companies within a Group, we will require either a Parental Undertaking Guarantee from your ultimate parent company or a guarantee from a bank with an investment grade credit rating (this is compulsory and must be provided, failure to do so will result in the grant offer not being issued)
  • applications from stand-alone companies will be assessed during due diligence as to the sufficiency of their financial standing and ability to deliver the project (a decision around required security and guarantees on stand-alone applications will be taken following due diligence checks)

Innovate UK will advise you of the ministerial decision from Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.

It is possible that an application that received lower assessors’ scores may be recommended for funding over others, in order to achieve a balanced portfolio of projects.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on your project. Invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score your answers to questions 6 to 11. Questions 1 to 5 are not scored but will be reviewed for eligibility. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess.

You must answer all questions. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any partners working on your project. You must also provide the location of where the project work will take place.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2: Scope (not scored)

What is the scope of your project?

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope, it will be rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.


  • the type of production your project will focus on, that is carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) enabled, electrolytic hydrogen or an alternative approach
  • how the production technology being proposed has been demonstrated in a commercial environment to a minimum of TRL7
  • your engagement with primary offtakers or provide an economic assessment to identify potential offtakers, including a summary of any agreements that have been reached
  • the use and necessity of hydrogen by the potential offtakers connected to your project, for example power, heat, raw material, storage and transport
  • how you will generate low carbon hydrogen as defined by the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard Version 2 (LCHS v2)

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

You must submit two appendices to support your answer.

Appendix A must show that the core technology being proposed has been demonstrated in a commercial environment to a minimum of TRL7. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Appendix B must provide evidence of engagement with offtakers or potential offtakers. It must be a PDF, up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. Project finance (not scored)

You must confirm and provide details that you have the required private sector finance in place to support your proposed project.

If you are relying on external investment, you must describe your financing plan and the status of discussion with potential financiers.

If your response is considered as ineligible, your proposal will be rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 4. Compliance with the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard Version 2 (LCHS v2) (not scored).

Explain how your hydrogen production proposal will meet the requirements of the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard Version 2 (LCHS v2).

Please note: an updated version of the LCHS will be published on 11th April. Applicants must comply with this updated version.

Does your project comply with the updated LCHS?

If your project includes waste as a feedstock, you must also describe how you will comply with the requirements of the waste hierarchy.

If your response is considered as ineligible, your proposal will be rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long

You must submit one appendix to support your answer. This must be a plan which demonstrates how your hydrogen production plant will be designed and operated to ensure that fugitive hydrogen emissions are kept as low as reasonably practical. It must be a PDF, up to 1 A4 page long and no larger than 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Finances (not scored)

How much will your project cost?

You must provide estimates of:

  • your project’s total costs
  • the grant funding you are requesting
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to the project
  • any partners’ costs and how they will finance their contributions to your project

If your response is considered as ineligible, your proposal will be rejected and will not be sent for assessment. We will tell you the reason why.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long

You can upload one appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. Project delivery

What activities, approaches and methods will you be delivering and how will this be achieved?

This question is worth 25% of the score.


  • your project’s industrial partners and your assessment of potential offtakers, including any engagement with these parties
  • your project’s engagement with commercially and technically viable energy sources
  • the resources, skills, and capabilities that will be needed to deliver your project, and how you will address any gaps within your project team
  • the key activities that will take place over the course of your project, including key milestones (decision points, approvals)
  • any key performance indicators (KPIs) appropriate to your project
  • any areas that cannot be progressed within the timeframe or budget available
  • how you intend to take a final investment decision (FID) and an indication of the timeframe for this.
  • how you will demonstrate that your project partners and any subcontractors can deliver your project by March 2025
  • any procurement activities that might be needed, and your approach to procurement
  • how you will promote equality, diversity and inclusion within your project and demonstrate how your project team reflects your approach

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

You must submit two appendices to support your answer.

Appendix A must include a short summary of the main people working on the project. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Appendix B must be a project plan. Your plan must be based on a start date of 1 November 2023 and include the expected finish date (up to 31 March 2025). It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 7. Risks

What are the key risks and opportunities for your project?

This question is worth 10% of the score.


  • the risks you have identified in developing and implementing your project, including technical, legal, commercial, environmental, policy, supply chain, evidence and data gathering, and sourcing information, using a RAG (red, amber, green) rating for each risk
  • how you expect the level of risks to change over the lifetime of your project
  • any assumptions that you have made, and your approach to identifying any that may be made during your project
  • any mitigations that can be put in place to reduce the risk
  • any opportunities that could arise
  • how your project will manage uncertainty

Your answer can be 800 words long.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Project governance and stakeholder management

What governance arrangements will you need to deliver this project successfully? How will you manage all stakeholders effectively, including hydrogen offtakers?

This question is worth 10% of the score.


  • the relationship between project partners and where each partner adds value to your project
  • the governance structure you will put in place including how you intend to manage the resolution of issues
  • how you will ensure that any subcontractors deliver to the required quality and timeframes
  • the reporting mechanisms you will implement for internal and external use
  • the wider engagement that needs to occur with other stakeholders external to core partner applicants, and how this will be managed
  • the proposed level of support from core suppliers, including demonstrating substantial engagement with prospective technology licensors
  • how future additional offtaker opportunities will be managed to enable wider access to hydrogen through project expansion opportunities
  • the approach that you will take to new commercial arrangements that may result from the deployment of low carbon hydrogen production from the site

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 9. Project significance and economic benefits

How will this investment contribute to a long-term hydrogen economy?

This question is worth 20% of the score.

Describe both:

Project significance

  • your project’s success criteria and how these will be measured
  • the extent to which your project delivers carbon savings to the economy and contributes to the UK government’s hydrogen strategy
  • the regional and national significance of your project including how it will address the wider future demand for hydrogen in the region
  • whether there is opportunity to expand the production site in the future, based on increased regional and national demands

Economic benefits

  • the anticipated longer term economic benefits, including employment, supply chain development and attractiveness for new investment, including an estimate of the timescales for achieving these
  • how sustainable business practices will be adopted, including skills development, and how gaps in national and international supply chains will be identified and mitigated

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 10. Knowledge sharing and hydrogen market development

How will this project enhance the UK’s position as a world leader in hydrogen production technology through shared learning, dissemination and knowledge exchange?

This question is worth 15% of the score.


  • what processes you will adopt for ensuring that lessons are learned by the broad community of stakeholders that need to be involved in hydrogen production
  • how you will ensure that your project takes account of other relevant work, for example successful and unsuccessful international hydrogen production projects, previous government-funded or EU-funded work in the UK, and academic studies
  • what knowledge sharing arrangements you will put in place and how you will ensure that information is disseminated effectively, including considerations such as timeliness and means of communication
  • what evidence and data will be collected, including how and when this will be done and who will be responsible
  • the types of information you plan to share with other stakeholders that you have identified
  • how your project offers learning and development in relevant production technologies and enables research and innovation across the wider hydrogen value chain
  • how your project contributes to achieving the objectives set out in the Hydrogen Strategy Roadmap and to developing the required hydrogen market infrastructure (including production, use and network infrastructure)
  • the scalability and replicability of your project, and how you will build on experience to support future market development and cost reduction

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 11. Commercial

This question is worth 20% of the score and consists of two parts – Section A (Commercial Viability) and Section B (Additionality).

Section A (Commercial Viability) will be used to assess the commercial viability of the project.

Explain how you will provide match funding for this project. Specifically, you must:

  • provide a breakdown of the capital financing mix for this project, for example what proportion comes from debt, equity or other
  • outline what investments can be committed to this project - where they come from, when they will occur, and the value attributed to them

Explain how you will ensure the project achieves commercial viability. Specifically, you must:

  • outline the timelines over which you expect this to occur
  • explain the steps you have taken to minimise your project costs
  • explain any key assumptions underpinning the commercial viability of your project.
  • explain, if relevant, what assumptions you are making about hydrogen production business model support or other revenue support to move your project to commercial operation

Section B (Additionality) will be used to help assess whether the project delivers value for money for the UK .

Explain your rationale for Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) funding and why the project would not go ahead in the same form without this grant support. Specifically:

  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of funding, where possible providing evidence
  • what other forms of support you have approached and why these have not been suitable, including private investments

Explain what would happen to the project without NZHF Strand 1 funding.

Specifically, you must outline whether:

  • the project would not proceed at all
  • the project would proceed outside the UK, meaning little or none of the benefits accrue within the UK
  • the project would still proceed in the UK but at a later date
  • the project would still proceed in the UK but on a smaller scale
  • an entirely different project would proceed in its place

Explain how you would use your project funds instead, and whether some or all of the project would not go ahead without NZHF Strand 1 Funding?

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

Background and further information


We will send you a short survey to ask how you found the application process. This survey will be sent at the end of the application window.

The information collected through this survey will be used for the monitoring and evaluation of the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) and to inform the design of subsequent phases of the scheme.

You are not required to complete this survey. The progress of your application is in no way dependent on completing the survey and your responses will not affect your application in any way.

If you progress to the interview stage, you may be invited to complete a second survey.

Financing low carbon hydrogen

Multiple funds and partnerships have been established in the UK and EU to accelerate the growth of the hydrogen sector.

Here is a brief description of some of the funds and partnerships involved:

  • Breakthrough Energy Catalyst is a partnership of companies, philanthropists and governments that provides low-cost equity, grants and product purchase commitments to low carbon infrastructure projects. Catalyst and the UK government announced a partnership to support commercial-scale projects in four sectors including clean hydrogen in October 2021.

  • HydrogenOne Capital Growth Plc is a publicly listed fund specialising in clean hydrogen, democratising private equity for public shareholders. It was launched in 2021 through an initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) with mandate to invest for growth across the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

  • HyCap is a private equity fund that invests across the UK hydrogen value chain. It is backed by a number of large industrial groups including JCB, Ballard, Northern Gas Network, Vedra Partners and Andrew Forest.

  • Hy24 is a clean hydrogen infrastructure investment platform. It was created by Ardian and FiveT Hydrogen to accelerate hydrogen’s potential for industrial and mobility uses via impact investments.

  • The UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) is a government-owned policy bank, focussed on increasing infrastructure investment to help to tackle climate change and promote economic growth in the United Kingdom. The bank has identified low carbon hydrogen as one of its investment opportunities in its first strategic plan, published June 2022. It has £18 billion of private sector financial capacity and will provide corporate and project finance and invest across the capital structure, including senior debt, mezzanine, guarantees and equity.

Definitions of Technology Readiness Level (TRL)

We are proposing that core production technology projects must be at TRL 7 or more to be eligible to apply to this competition. This ensures our funding supports projects where innovation funding ends.

For the purpose of this document, we are defining TRL 7 as ‘Integrated Pilot System Demonstrated: A prototype near or at planned operational system, requiring demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment’.

Here are the competition’s definitions of Technology Readiness Levels 1 to 9:

TRL 1 – Basic Research

Scientific research begins to be translated into applied research and development.

TRL 2 – Applied Research

Basic physical principles are observed, practical applications of those characteristics can be 'invented' or identified. At this level, the application is still speculative. There is not experimental proof or detailed analysis to support the conjecture.

TRL 3 – Critical Function or Proof of Concept Established

Active research and development is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative

TRL 4 – Laboratory testing, validation of Components or Processes

Basic technological components are integrated - Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together.

TRL 5 – Laboratory Testing of Integrated or Semi-Integrated System

The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so it can be tested in a simulated environment.

TRL 6 – Prototype System Verified

A representative model or prototype system, tested in a relevant environment.

TRL 7 – Integrated Pilot System Demonstrated

Prototype near or at planned operational system, requiring demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment.

TRL 8 – System Incorporated in Commercial Design

Technology is proven to work - Actual technology completed and qualified through test and demonstration.

TRL 9 – System Proven and Ready for Full Commercial Deployment

Actual application of technology is in its final form - Technology proven through successful operations.

Examples of guidance for specific Environment Agency regulation of relevance

Regulations you may want to consider for your innovation project have been provided below.

Planning Permission

Getting an environmental permit

For further guidance on exemption for R&D projects, contact the relevant environmental regulator

Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations

AIR: Carbon Capture and Storage

AIR: Hydrogen Production and Use

  • Inorganic chemicals sector: additional guidance
  • guidance in development for hydrogen production from methane/RFG with CCS is available on request.
  • we are in the process of developing other guidance to support hydrogen production and use. Please refer to Technical guidance for regulated industry sectors: environmental permitting for our latest publications.

AIR: Gasification

AIR: Anaerobic digestion

AIR: Emissions to air

LAND: Waste management

Please note: Think very carefully about potential waste status of each output and check guidance.

LAND: Spreading waste/ materials to land, for example, biochar, enhanced weathering

WATER: Water abstraction

WATER: Effluent to water

WATER: Farming

If you have any further technology or regime specific queries then contact:

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the Department for Business and Trade (each an “agency”).

Any relevant information submitted and produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and Department for Business and Trade and vice versa. This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

Innovate UK, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and Department for Business and Trade are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and Department for Business and Trade will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application. Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy is accessible here.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK KTN.

Next steps

If you are successful at the technical assessment of your application, you will be informed of the next steps in the notification letter. Your details and project information will be transferred to a designated delivery partner within one of Government’s departments, who will conduct due diligence and deal with the subsequent stages of the process.

Finance checks

You will be contacted by a delivery partner in one of Government’s departments to undertake finance checks.

You must respond to any requests for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GOL)

Following successful completion of due diligence and relevant internal processes, you will be issued with a GOL.

You will need to sign and return this before you start your project.

Your GOL will show the start date for your project. Do not start your project before this date.

Expenditure incurred after the date you have received a notification letter on successfully passing the technical assessment but before you sign a GOL may potentially count towards your total capital costs, subject to the consent of the Secretary of State and compliance with subsidy control rules. However, until your GOL is signed any such spend would be entirely at your own risk. We cannot fund any costs incurred before the date you submit your application form.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Need help with this service? Contact us