Highlights in 2018
Highlights in 2018


Mission Innovation impact case study

Including artificial photosynthesis in the 7th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government

Artificial photosynthesis research in Germany used to be funded primarily as part of the support for basic research. The international expert group established within IC5 and their development of the IC5 work programme contributed to raising awareness about this topic in Germany. Together with the consultative procedure in preparation of the new research programme and a publication by the German Academies of Sciences, the thinking of this expert group was instrumental in shaping the new programme focus and aligning it with other activities in Europe and worldwide.

By supporting research, development and demonstration of artificial photosynthesis technologies as part of applied energy research, Germany is supporting IC5 as well as IC8. International cooperation within MI is explicitly mentioned in the 7th Energy Research Programme. The impact to date has been, to put applied research on artificial photosynthesis in the spotlight and contributing to the ongoing discussion on the feasibility of importing renewable energy in the form of chemical energy carriers.

In future, it is anticipated that increased funding and increased international collaboration will lead to a more rapid technological development in this area. Several projects are already being discussed. In the long run, this might afford opportunities for Germany for exporting high-quality plant technology and importing solar fuels and other valuable substances from regions with higher solar irradiation (particularly desert regions).

Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies

In September 2018 Germany launched the 7th Energy Research Programme of the Federal Government (available in English). The programme focuses on technology and innovation transfer and introduces “living labs for the energy transition” as a new funding instrument. These industrial-scale demonstration projects will investigate the systemic interplay of energy technologies that are already close to market. New emphasis is also being put on start-ups (and SMEs) as important facilitators of innovation transfer. Furthermore, the program significantly broadens the scope of energy research by including and emphasizing system-integration (grids, storage and sector-coupling) and cross-system research topics like digitisation, resource efficiency and societal aspects of the energy transition. International cooperation will be strengthened under the new programme. This includes enhanced cooperation within MI, with an emphasis on hydrogen and solar fuels. In keeping with the motto, ‘efficiency first’, a major fraction of the funding will be directed on the efficient use of energy and the reduction of energy consumption. Renewable energy generation will remain a major focus of energy research.

Major innovation initiatives in 2018/19

  • Energy Research Networks bring together experts from research, business and industry. At the beginning of 2019 these had grown to accommodate about 3900 members. These networks provide expert support to the Research and Innovation Platform which is the central discussion forum for high-level actors from policymaking, science, business, industry and civil society.
  • Living labs for the energy transition: $100 million per year have been set aside to support these large scale demonstration projects in the years 2019-2021.
  • Energy transition in the transport sector: A major research initiative was implemented in 2018, with a focus on the renewable production of synthetic fuels. About 150 individual projects have been launched.
  • Carbon2Chem: Steel mill gases are now turned into ammonia and methanol during full operation. 20 million tons of CO2 can be potentially saved per year in Germany.
  • The Kopernikus-Projects are one of the largest funding initiatives for the energy transition in Germany and are about to enter the 2nd funding phase in 2019. The four projects will have received about €120 million of funding between 2016 and 2019.
  • A call for proposals on the digitisation of the energy transition was launched in early 2019.

Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2018/19

Germany is participating in the development of IC1, IC3, IC6 and IC7 by providing information, supporting researchers in participating at IC events and participating in discussions on further developments. In addition, Germany is co-leading IC5 and IC8, corresponding to the strategic focus on the inherently global topics of hydrogen and solar fuels. In support of IC8 Germany hosted the first IC8 Workshop in Berlin and conducted and participated in many more meetings and workshops with the goal to advance this challenge as quickly as possible. In support of both IC5 and IC8 Germany announced a funding opportunity within the framework of the new 7th Energy Research Programme, including a special emphasis on international collaboration within the scope of IC5 and IC8. Furthermore, Germany will be joining the MICall19, which supports several innovation challenges. Finally, the German Federal Government is promoting MI within the scientific community in Germany and supports scientists in participating in the development of Innovation Challenges. Large-scale and often unique research infrastructure present at major scientific research institutions in Germany can be made available to international researchers as part of international cooperation within the framework of MI.

Other Mission Innovation related activity in 2018/19

  • Germany is participating in the MI Champions Programme and will support the MI Champion from Germany in taking part at MI-4 as well as further engaging in the Innovation Challenges.
  • With the focus on better participation of Startups within the energy research programme, Germany is supporting innovation transfer and private sector engagement.
  • Germany is promoting MI within its research communication activities, for example the 2018 Federal Government Report on Energy Research.
  • Germany is supporting international cooperation on energy research within the Technology Collaboration Programmes of the IEA Energy Technology Network.

New collaborations

ERA-NET Smart Energy Systems Call 2018 – Integrated regional Energy Systems
23 European Countries including MI members: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden
A transnational Joint Programming Platform to Initiate Co-Creation and Promote Energy System Innovation.
Sectors: public-public
Type of collaboration: research, development and demonstration
Duration: 2018 to 2021
Funding amount:
6 M€
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ERA-NET Bioenergy
7 European countries including MI members: Austria, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden.
A transnational cooperation of programme owners and programme managers in the area of bioenergy R&D.
Sectors: public-private
Type of collaboration: research, development
Duration: 2018 to 2022
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18 European Countries and Regions including MI members: Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom
A European network of national and regional funding organisations in the field of solar electricity generational.
Sectors: public-public
Type of collaboration: research and development
Duration: 2018 to 2022
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ACT-ERANET: 2nd Call 2018-2019, 3rd Call 2020 (Accelerating CCS Technologies)
Norway, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, United States
ACT is an international initiative to facilitate RD&D and innovation within CO2 capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
Sectors: calls open to both public and private sector
Type of collaboration: ACT is an ERA NET Cofund, which is a tool established by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme for research and innovation. The idea behind ERA NET Cofunds is that European countries should join forces when it comes to funding RD&D and innovation on subjects of high European interest. ACT is one of many ERA NET Cofunds, but ACT is the only ERA NET Cofund addressing CCS. The ACT-ERANET are targeted to the identified Priority Research Directions (PRDs) under  Mission Innovation Challenge 3-CCUS.

ERANet Geothermica
Germany, European Commission
Combination of 17 geothermal energy research and innovation programme owners and managers from 14 countries and their regions.
Sectors: public-private
Type of collaboration: demonstration and technology development projects to accelerate geothermal energy deployment
Duration: 2nd call is currently in preparation
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Comfort & Climate Box
Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, European Commission, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States, IEA HPT & ECES collaboration with IC7
The goal of this Combined Annex is to develop and disseminate knowledge, evaluate prototypes and coordinate field tests involving HP/storage-packages in existing buildings.
Sectors: public-private
Type of collaboration: research and innovation
Duration: Q4 2018 to Q2 2021
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IC5 project through H2020 with 8 MI countries
EU Large-scale Research Initiative on the production of fuel and chemicals from sunlight.
Sectors: public-public
Type of collaboration: large-scale, long-term research
Duration: 2019 to 2020 (first stage)
Funding amount: 
1M€ from the EC
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