Implementation of the fp7 Energy Theme (2007-2013)

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Implementation of the FP7 Energy Theme (2007-2013)


Data has been retrieved from the CORDA database on 3 December 2013. Data has been cross-checked for consistency and corrected where necessary. All proposals under negotiation at the time of data retrieval have been considered "projects", but data for EU contribution and composition of the consortium might still change (this applies to some proposals submitted under the 2012 and 2013 calls). In total, this analysis encompasses 399 individual projects (362 when excluding those funded under joint calls) with a total EU contribution from the FP7 Energy Theme budget of EUR 1.9 billion (only from the FP7 Energy Theme's budget lines; EUR 2.238 billion if contributions to the JTI on Fuel Cells and Hydrogen are taken into account).

Coverage of technologies

The FP7 Energy Theme consists of 10 Activities which cover in total 40 separate areas. The FP7 Decision fixes the structure of Activities, but not of Areas. Projects have been funded in all Activities and in 35 out of the 40 areas1. Five areas have not explicitly been opened, but have nevertheless been covered in different ways:

  • CONCERTO (Area 2.8 and 4.4.): all CONCERTO activities have been covered under Area 8.4.

  • ECO-Buildings (Area 8.3): Activities in the context of the Energy-efficient Buildings PPP have been covered under Area 8.1.

  • Socio-economic research and innovation in energy efficiency (Area 8.6): Projects funded under Area 9.1 ("Knowledge tools for energy-related policy making") have been addressing this issue.

  • Coal-based poly-generation (Area 6.2): a topic was opened in 2007 which received only very few proposals of insufficient quality; in the following years poly-generation was covered through cross-cutting topics in area 5&6.2, such as pre-combustion technologies, and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC). Coal-based poly-generation projects funded under area 5&6.2 include H2IGCC, ECCO, COMETH, GHG2E.

The Energy Theme has thus, in respect of the legal base, covered all activities provided for in the Specific Programme and addressed in an open and flexible way Future and Emerging Technologies.

The largest share of the budget (42%) has been dedicated to renewable energies (bioenergy, solar energy, wind energy, heating and cooling, ocean energy, geothermal energy, hydro energy). Substantial support was also given to Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (15%, including contributions to the JTI), smart grids (15%), CCS/Clean Coal (10%) and Energy Efficiency (13%).

The budget share of the FP7 Energy Theme for research dedicated to renewable energies and energy efficiency was 55% (when taking into account relevant FET projects the budget share increases to 57%), in compliance with the Commission's guidelines at the beginning of the programme.

N.B. Projects are counted only once in the area of their "centre of gravity". FET projects are all counted under "FET/Materials". Fuel Cells and Hydrogen (FCH) including contributions to the FCH Joint Undertaking.

At the start of FP7 the Commission had presented an indicative budget breakdown between the different technology areas (ENERGY-2007-11) that was considered at that time to represent "a good balance" (see table below).

% of overall budget

Renewable energy sources*


Energy efficiency and savings*


Fuel cells and hydrogen (JTI)


Sustainable fossil fuels (CC + CCS)


Smart energy networks


Knowledge for policy making


* Together not less than 55% of the budget

The budget distribution at the end of the programme period is broadly in line with the breakdown indicated at the start of FP7. However, the budget dedicated to energy efficiency, fossil fuels and socio-economic research has been lower than initially indicated. On the other hand, the budget dedicated to Smartgrids has been significantly higher due to the increased importance of Smartgrids for achieving the EU's Energy policy targets, notably the increased use of renewable energy and the creation of an internal electricity market.

It follows a brief summary of the activities in each of the individual technologies and areas.

Fuel cells and hydrogen

Projects on fuel cells and hydrogen were supported only in 2007, when the Joint Technology Initiative on fuel cells and hydrogen (FCH JTI) was not yet in place (8 projects with a total EU funding of almost EUR 24 million). As of 2008, all FCH-related activities were managed by the JTI. The FP7 Energy Theme contributes some EUR 315 million to the JTI FCH's total budget (2008-2013).

Under the FET and Materials calls 2008 and 2010 a total of 5 projects (EU contribution: EUR 11.6 million) have been funded related to fuel cells and hydrogen.


39 research and demonstration projects on photovoltaics have been funded in FP7 with a total EU contribution of almost EUR 164 million. In addition, a total of 11 projects on PV have been supported under the Future and Emerging Technologies calls 2008, 2010 and 2012, with an additional EU contribution of EUR 30 million.

Whereas the 2007 calls addressed a wide range of different PV technologies – from thin-films to third generation PV technologies such as intermediate band solar cell (IBSC), as well as cost reductions and improved manufacturing – the 2008 calls funded demonstration projects addressing PV for grid optimisation and research on new applications for concentrated PV in the Mediterranean Countries. In addition, a joint call with NMP resulted in five research projects which address innovative technological developments in PV through incorporation of nanomaterials into the solar cell structure. Thin-film PV was supported in 2009 with 5 research projects addressing efficiency and material issues, and 2 demonstration projects dealing with manufacturing issues. In 2010, two research projects on crystalline silicon PV and three on the technological development of thin-film and organic/dye-sensitised PV (co-ordinated call with India) have been supported. Under the 2011 work programme the focus was on the scaling up of the production processes of solar cells (joint call with NMP Theme), and on demonstration of productivity and cost optimization for the manufacturing of concentrated PV systems. In addition, projects addressed the development of ultra-high efficient concentrated PV cells (coordinated call with Japan) and standardized building components. Under the 2012 calls, 3 demonstration projects on smart multi-functional PV modules have been supported as well as 2 research projects aiming at improving reliability, performance and cost effectiveness of PV systems. In addition, an ERA-NET for the implementation of the Solar Energy Industry Initiative has been supported. The 2013 call financed one research project on high efficiency c-Si photovoltaics modules, one project aiming at the integration of research programmes (IRP) and one support action for activities of the PV Technology Platform.

Concentrated Solar Power

18 projects on CSP have been supported in FP7 with a total EU contribution of around EUR 107.6 million. In 2007, a demonstration project dealing with the improvement of the environmental profile of the CSP installations, and a support action on the use of CSP for water desalination was funded. Research projects on components for CSP have been funded in the 2008 and 2010. In addition, a research project on dry-cooling methods for CSP plants was supported under the 2010 call. Under the same call, two projects have been selected to demonstrate at large-scale the combined production of electricity and fresh water from CSP in Mediterranean countries. The 2011 calls focussed on thermal energy storage for CSP plants (4 research projects) and also on advanced heat transfer fluids (1 project). The 2012 calls supported 2 research projects on solar dish systems and one project dealing with hybridisation of CSP with other energy sources. The 2013 calls financed one research project investigating methods for the estimation of the Direct Normal Irradiation (DNI) and one project aiming at the integration of research programmes (IRP).


60 bioenergy projects have been supported by the FP7 Energy Theme with a total EU contribution of around EUR 318.9 million2. In addition, three projects on bioenergy have been supported under the 2008 and 2012 FET call with an additional EU contribution of EUR 9.8 million.

The biggest share of the EU support was for research on second generation biofuels, followed by biorefineries. Support for biofuels focused in 2007 on demonstration of gasification technologies, biorefineries, 2nd generation biofuels and hydrogen production, in 2008 on second generation biofuels (demonstration of ethanol from lignocellulosics) and cooperation with Latin America. Biorefineries were supported in 2007 by five projects addressing the concept development and the valorisation of biorefinery side-products, while the cross-thematic Joint Call on Biorefineries in 2009 resulted in four large demonstration projects tackling integrated biorefineries. Also supported in 2009 were 2nd generation biofuels from biowaste and cooperation with Brazil on 2nd generation biofuels. 2010 saw a major effort on demonstration of biofuels from algae, while also research on fuel production using direct biological conversion of solar radiation was addressed. Under the 2011 calls, two projects investigating sustainable bio-energy carriers have been supported. Under the 2012 calls, 2 demonstration projects on lignocellulosic ethanol were supported as well as one ERA-NET Plus on bioenergy demonstrations of the European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative. In addition, research projects on biofuels for air transport, improved logistics for lignocellulosic biomass and biofuels from algae have been supported. The 2013 calls funded again an ERA-NET Plus on demonstrations of the European Industrial Bioenergy Initiative as well as 2 pre-commercial demonstration projects on paraffinic biofuels for use in aviation. In addition, one research project investigating the development of regional and pan-European schemes for delivery of non-food biomass feedstock was financed. Key activities of the European Biofuels Technology Platform (EBTP) have also been supported through a support action.

In the area of electricity generation, the focus in 2007 was on demonstration of co-firing and gasification, while in 2008 demonstration of medium-to-large scale electricity generation from biomass and waste as well as research cooperation with Russia was in the centre. The 2009 call supported one demonstration project on electricity generation from energy crops and recovered fuels.

Wind energy

27 projects have been supported by the FP7 Energy Theme with a total EU contribution of EUR 154.2 million3 (including three projects from the "Ocean of Tomorrow" call 2011, to which the Energy Theme contributed part of the budget). In addition, two projects (total EU contribution: EUR 4.9 million) on wind energy have been supported under the 2010 FET call.

In 2007, 5 projects were funded addressing various aspect of wind energy (demonstration of large scale systems for on-and off-shore wind farms, components for turbines and wind farms, wind and resource assessment, pre-normative research). Demonstration of large scale systems was again supported with one project in 2008, while a substantial research project on very large scale offshore wind turbines was funded in 2010. Research projects on off-shore renewable energy conversion platforms, including significant activities on wind energy, were supported in 2009. Under the 2011 calls, three large demonstration projects on floating structures for deep off-shore wind generation have been funded. In addition, two research projects addressing the development of design tools for wind farm clusters and – in the context of the call "Ocean of Tomorrow" – three projects on multi-use offshore platforms (with the main focus on wind energy) have been financed in the same year. The 2012 call supported 2 research projects aiming at larger-than-10 MW turbines as well as 3 demonstration projects targeting reliability improvements of existing scale turbines (2-6 MW). In 2013, one research project addressing aerodynamic modelling, design and testing for large rotor blades has been supported, as well as one research project on small to medium size wind turbines. In addition, one ERA-NET Plus project for wind resource assessment at European scale, and one project integrating research programmes (IRP) in the area of wind were funded.

The integration of renewable energies, in particular wind energy, in the grid was also covered in the Smartgrids Activity (see below, one substantial research project was funded in 2007, while two very big demonstration projects were funded in 2009).

Ocean energy

Twelve projects have been funded so far in the area of ocean energy with a total EU contribution of some EUR 66.9 million. In addition, two projects (total EU contribution: EUR 5.1 million) on ocean energy have been supported under the FET calls.

One research project was funded in 2007 on new components and concepts for ocean energy converters, and one on pre-normative research. In 2008 four demonstration projects on innovative full size systems were supported. A coordination action on off-shore renewable energy conversion platforms was funded in 2009. The 2011 call for an ERA-NET in the area of ocean energy received no proposal. The 2012 calls supported 3 projects aiming at demonstrating first ocean energy farms, while in 2013 one project on facilitating ocean energy converter arrays was financed. In addition, an ERA-NET for supporting the coordination of national research activities was supported in 2013.

In 2010 and 2011, the Energy Theme contributed to the joint calls “Ocean of Tomorrow”. In 2010, one project dealing with sub-seabed carbon storage and the marine environment has been supported4 while in 2011 three projects on multi-use platforms (integrating renewable energy) have been funded5.

Hydro energy

Hydro energy was addressed in the 2007 work programme. As a result two research projects on new or improved hydro components and concepts have been funded with a total EU contribution of almost EUR 6 million. One additional project aiming at optimising water turbines has been financed under the 2013 calls, increasing the total EU contribution of the FP7 Energy Theme to hydro energy to EUR 10.1 million.

Heating and cooling / geothermal energy

Under this Activity, 25 projects have been funded with a total EU contribution of EUR 105.1 million (including geothermal energy).

Solar thermal energy was in the focus of 2007 when projects were funded dealing with collector design and components, small distributed systems for seawater desalination, and small scale thermal cooling units. In addition, one project on improved ground source heat pumps was supported as well. In 2009, a demonstration project addressing hybrid systems was funded, while in 2010 two projects on the demonstration of a new generation of boilers and stoves were supported. Under the 2011 calls, substantial activities have been funded in the area of compact storage materials and systems. In addition, projects dealing with the integration of new insights from the ICT and materials research into solar-thermal systems, and with low/medium temperature solar thermal systems for industrial process heat were funded. The 2012 calls supported one research project on solar collectors (medium temperature range) and two projects on heat pump technologies. In addition, 2 demonstration projects related to large scale systems for urban heating and/or cooling were supported under the "Smart Cities and Communities" umbrella. Under the 2013 calls, one research project on innovative solar thermal façade systems was financed.

Activities targeting innovative solutions for district heating and cooling energy supply have been supported under the smart cities and communities initiative.

As regards geothermal energy, 4 projects have been funded with a total amount of almost EUR 22 million. With regard to heating and cooling, one demonstration project, funded under the 2007 call, is addressing improved ground source heat pumps. As regards electricity generation, one research project dealing with induced seismicity of geothermal energy was funded under the 2009 work programme and one project on exploration and assessment of geothermal reservoirs was supported under the 2013 calls. Under the 2011 work programme, an ERA-NET in geothermal energy has been funded.

CCS and Clean coal technologies

In the area of CCS and Clean Coal Technologies (Activity 5, 6 and 5&6), a total of 53 projects with a total EU contribution of almost EUR 234.1 million have been supported. In addition, one project (EU contribution: EUR 2.3 million) on CCS has been supported under the 2008 FET call and one project under the 2010 call "Ocean of Tomorrow" (contribution of the Energy Theme: EUR 6 million).

As regards CCS, the capture part was addressed in 2007 and 2009, resulting in a total of 8 research projects covering different capture technologies. Post combustion capture processes were supported with 2 research and 2 demonstration projects under the 2011 calls. No projects on CO2 capture were supported in 2012, but 2 projects on the scale-up of advanced high-efficiency capture processes and 6 projects on new generation high-efficiency capture processes were financed under the 2013 calls.

Storage of CO2 was addressed in 2008, when a project on public acceptance and on transport and storage infrastructure was funded, in 2009, with projects addressing geological storage and infrastructures, and in 2010 when projects dealing with storage site characterisation and abandonment, as well as trans-national cooperation and networking, were funded. In the same year, one large project on sub-seabed carbon storage and the marine environment has been funded in the context of the joint call on "Ocean of Tomorrow". Under the 2011 call, two projects on the long-term fate of geologically stored CO2 have been funded. In the same year, also one support action targeting the CCS Project Network has been supported. The 2012 calls supported one pilot test for CO2 geological storage and 2 research projects investigating the impact of the quality of CO2 on transport and storage. Under the 2013 calls, one project addressing mitigation and remediation of leakage from geological storage was supported.

The development of a value chain for GHG-emissions was supported with projects in 2007 and 2010.

In Clean coal technologies, the demonstration of the advanced fluidized bed combustion technology and gas turbines for gasification processes was supported with one project in 2008. Substantial demonstration projects aiming at efficiency improvements of power plants were supported in 2009 (pulverised coal power plants) and 2010 (oxyfuel-based combustion). In 2011, one project dealing with optimisation of IGCC technologies for use with high content ash coal was funded. No project on clean coal technologies was funded under the 2012 calls. For 2013, one research project on combined underground coal gasification and CO2 capture and storage was financed.

Smart Grids

In the area of smartgrids 58 projects (including all projects funded under the joint call with the ICT Theme in 2009) have been supported with a total EU contribution of EUR 327.8 million6.

For distribution networks, the main areas covered are the integration of renewable and distributed energy sources, the activation of customers and demand with smart metering, and various aspects of grid automation. In terms of renewable integration, a research project in 2007 focused on innovative control strategies and network architectures, 2 big demonstration projects in 2010 and 3 research projects connecting with national demonstrations in 2012. For metering and customer interaction, a large project on active demand was launched in 2007, a research project on an open-access standard for smart multi-metering services was supported in 2008 and 2 projects on the empowerment of customers to participate in active demand and electricity system efficiency were launched in 2012. A project on distributed intelligence linked with national demonstrations was launched in 2012 and four projects addressing methods and tools for network integration of distributed renewable resources were financed from the 2013 calls.

For transmission networks, projects cover coordinated operations of networks, technology validation, pan-EU transmission planning, and market design. In terms of operations, a big research project on simulation and state estimation was launched in 2007 and a project on operational and monitoring tools for large power systems and a project on TSO cooperation were launched in 2008. Two projects developing tools for TSO coordination were launched in 2011, and a project on future reliability criteria for European transmission grids was started in 2013. In terms of technology validation, A large demonstration project with an emphasis on wind integration was launched from the 2009 call, and a further technology validation project resulted from the 2013 call. Two projects concerning long-term planning of transmission networks were started in 2007, and a research project on the planning for European electricity highways for reliable delivery of renewable electricity has been supported in 2012. A project on market design resulted from the 2008 call and one project addressing stakeholder support for future grid infrastructures was started in 2013.

Under the area of cross-cutting issues and technologies, In 2007, an ERA-NET has been supported. Energy storage has been supported with research projects in 2008 (FET call), 2009 and 2010, and two very big demonstration projects funded under the 2011 calls7 and 2 research projects were supported in 2012, targeting the deployment of safe stationary batteries. In 2013, four projects were supported investigating interfaces in rechargeable batteries and super-capacitors through in situ methods. In 2009 two projects on the impact of the roll-out of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on grid infrastructure have been funded. Research on electric vehicles was also supported by the Energy Theme in 2010 through the joint call on "Materials, technologies and processes for sustainable automotive electrochemical storage applications" in the context of the PPP on Green Cars. The 2013 calls supported two projects dealing with electric vehicles (one project on planning rules for linking EV to distributed energy resources, one project on the interaction between grid infrastructure and EV). In 2009, a joint-call with the ICT Theme resulted in six projects being supported on the ICT infrastructure for the smart grids., In the same year, an R&D project on applications of high-temperature supraconductors was suppoted. In 2012, the networking of national R&D and demonstration projects on smart metering infrastructure and data processing, and the coordination of stakeholder activities in the field of Smart Grids were supported. One project aiming at the integration of research programmes in the areas of smart grids was financed in 2013.

In addition to the projects supported through the Energy Theme, 14 projects supporting the exploitation of telecommunication networks and ICT tools for smart grids were also supported under the ICT theme, through calls ICT-2011.6.1 and ICT-2013.6.1 Smart energy grids. Projects under the Security theme also cover aspects of protection of critical infrastructures, including through cyber security.

Energy efficiency and Smart Cities and Communities

In the Activity "Energy Efficiency and Savings" a total of 40 projects have been funded with a total EU contribution of more than EUR 285.2 million. In addition, one project (EU contribution: EUR 1.5 million) on energy efficiency has been supported under the 2008 FET call.

Most energy efficiency projects the have been targeting the manufacturing industry and buildings. As regards manufacturing processes, one project has been supported in 2007 and two projects targeting energy intensive industries in 2009. Under the 2011 calls, three demonstration projects targeting the manufacturing industry and one project addressing specifically low-carbon industrial parks have been funded.

Research on heat exchangers and boilers was supported with three projects in 2008, while one project addressing the valorisation of low temperature was funded under the 2010 calls.

Energy efficient buildings have been covered within the PPP on "Energy efficient buildings". Under the 2010 call, three projects targeting retrofitting of buildings have been funded. Another four projects dealing with very low energy buildings were funded under the 2011 call, while in 2012 three demonstration projects targeting the renovation of buildings were supported.

Poly-generation applications with renewable energies were supported with two projects, funded in 2007 and 2008. Energy efficiency in clean urban transport was supported in the CIVITAS call of 2007.

CONCERTO activities, i.e. the innovative integration of renewable energy supply and energy efficiency in large communities, were supported in 2008 with four large demonstration projects.

The 2012 work programme contained the first call addressing specifically "Smart Cities and Communities" – 5 projects related to city planning, and 3 demonstration projects addressing nearly zero energy building renovation have been funded. In 2013, four large-scale demonstration projects have been supported, combining retrofitting of a district towards zero energy buildings, innovative solutions for the medium and low voltage electricity distribution grid, and district heating and cooling energy supply.

Energy efficiency is a horizontal issue par excellence and thus supported by a number of FP7 Themes and Programmes. An internal analysis showed that, in fact, projects funded under the Activity 8 of the Energy Theme ("Energy-efficiency and savings") account for only around 15-20% of the total funding dedicated by the various FP7 Themes and Programmes to this issue. The most substantial funding comes from the ICT Theme (focussing on ICT issues, buildings, transport and industry) and the NMP Theme (addressing mainly buildings).

Socio-economic research

Socio-economic research on energy-related issues was supported with funding 9 projects with a total EU contribution of EUR 17.7 million. In 2007, projects were supported addressing behavioural changes, the security of supply, as well as technological foresight and scenario development. A second wave of two projects was supported in 2009 – on the transition planning of European energy infrastructure networks and systems as well as support for a European scientific multidisciplinary "think-tank". A multidisciplinary “think tank” was again supported under the 2013 calls.

Future Emerging Technologies and Materials

Bottom-up calls on Future Emerging Technologies (FET) and Materials have been published in 2008, 2010 and under the 2012 work programme. Under the 2008 calls a total of 11 projects have been funded under the ENERGY-Theme (4 projects of the joint Energy Materials call have been funded and managed by the NMP Theme), while 8 projects were funded in the 2010 FET call and 10 projects in the 2012 call. FET and Materials projects, being characterised as high-risk/high impact projects, have been covering the following technology areas: solar energy (11 projects), hydrogen and fuel cells (5 projects), wind energy (2 projects), ocean energy (3 projects), energy storage (2 projects), bioenergy (3 project), energy efficiency (4 project) and CO2 storage (1 project).


The FP7 Energy Theme has been supporting programme monitoring, dissemination and stakeholders networking activities through calls for tenders (such as the mid-term evaluation in WP 2010, impact study in WP 2012, CONCERTO Premium in WP 2009, Energy Research Knowledge Centre in WP 2010, Smart Cities Stakeholders Platform in WP 2011, the Global Energy Assessment in 2012 and the EERA secretariat in 2013). In addition, a number of SET-Plan conferences, organised by the EU Presidency, haven been supported through grants to a named beneficiary. In 2013, a network intended to increase the impact of universities on the SET-Plan has been supported.
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