Developing the next generation of renewable energy technologies

The renewable energy technologies that will form the backbone of the energy system by 2030 and 2050 are still at an early stage of development today. Bringing these new energy conversion solutions, new renewable energy concepts and innovative renewable energy uses faster to commercialisation, taking into account social acceptance and secure and affordable energy supply, is challenging. These new technologies must not only have a commercial potential but they should also have a lower environmental impact and lower greenhouse gases emissions than the current renewable energy technologies.

Due to the pre-competitive nature of the research activities of this type, particular emphasis is put on including international cooperation opportunities, whenever relevant to the proposal and the domain.


Proposals are expected to bring to TRL 3 or TRL 4 (please see part G of the General Annexes) renewable energy technologies that will answer the challenge described. Beside the development of the technology, the proposal will have to clearly address the following related aspects: the potential lower environmental and climate impact on a life cycle basis, the better resource efficiency, issues related to social acceptance or resistance to new energy technologies, related socioeconomic and livelihood issues.

Support will be given to activities which focus on converting renewable energy sources into an energy vector, or the direct application of renewable energy sources.

One of the following technology-specific sub-topics has to be addressed:

  • Developing the new energy technologies that will form the backbone of the energy system by 2030 and 2050. The challenge is to develop energy technologies currently in the early phases of research. It is crucial that these new, more efficient, and cost-competitive energy generation and conversion technologies, demonstrate their potential value in the future European energy system. Developments in sectors other than energy may provide ideas, experiences, technology contributions, knowledge, new approaches, innovative materials and skills that are of relevance to the energy sector. Cross-fertilisation could offer mutually beneficial effects;
  • Innovative materials for geothermal heat exchangers to maximize energy transfer and improve the overall conversion efficiency of a geothermal system;
  • Innovative testing methods and design tools for acceleration of wind energy technology development and increased life time extension;
  • Sustainable fuels other than hydrogen for energy and transport application through ground-breaking conversion technologies, addressing for example development of novel microorganisms, enzymes, catalysts, photosentisizers and separation techniques, improvement of biomass and microalgae yields, and development of novel technologies of combined indirect and direct artificial photosynthesis with chemical/ biochemical/biological systems;
  • Innovative very high efficiency thin-film photovoltaics concepts considering advanced, sustainable and low-cost materials and processes.

Novel technology solutions for grid integration, storage, fuel cells and hydrogen – (other than integral to the technology solution developed), energy efficiency and smart cities will not be supported under this topic but in the relevant parts of this work programme part and other H2020 work programme parts.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 to 5 million would allow this challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

On its completion, the project is expected to advance the knowledge and prove the technological feasibility of the concept including the environmental, social and economic benefits. The proposal should show its contribution towards establishing a solid European innovation base and building a sustainable renewable energy system contributing to the decarbonisation of our economies. The proposed solutions are expected to contribute to strengthening the EU leadership on renewables.

Delegation Exception Footnote

It is expected that this topic will continue in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Blue Growth
  • International cooperation
  • Clean Energy
Application date
Social sciences : Economy, Environmental Sciences, Sociology