BMWK Supports R&D for Climate-Neutral Heating and Cooling

New national funding call supports research and development projects in Germany which develop technologies, processes and concepts that contribute to climate-neutral heating and cooling solutions.

As part of the German government’s Seventh Energy Research Programme, Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (BMWK – German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) has now launched this call for Climate-Neutral Heating and Cooling (Klimaneutrale Wärme und Kälte) with the intent to expand research funding on this particular topic. The call focusses on projects that develop and refine technological and systemic solutions in the area of heating and cooling as well as projects dedicated to demonstrating technologies and services in this field.

Funding is offered for industrial research and experimental development projects with a technology readiness level of TRL 3 to TRL 8 which are dedicated to further technical advancement as well as broad impact on associated technical and cross-sectional topics in the field of heating and cooling. TRL 9 will be considered in the case of micro projects. Projects may address the entire value chain of heat and cooling supply, including usage, distribution, storage and supply.

A particular focus is on options for the decarbonisation of the heating sector such as heat pumps, heat accumulators and geothermal solutions.

The call is divided into the following thematic areas:

Overarching Topics

  • Model and demonstrator projects with systemic approaches for innovative technologies and their combination for heating and cooling supply, including digital networking tools.
  • Optimisation, standardisation, cost reduction and scaling up of manufacturing of components for the heating transition.
  • Systemic investigations into the effects of technological developments and regulatory, organisational and price adjustments on climate-neutral cooling and heat supply.

Usage and Supply of Heating and Cooling

  • Heat pumps.
  • Refurbishment of existing building stock to reduce heating and cooling demands.
  • Transformation in industrial manufacturing.
  • Smart and resilient automation and control technology.

Distribution and Storage of Heat and Cooling

  • Heat and cooling accumulators.
  • Heat and cooling grids.

Projects with systemic approaches to the above topics are particularly encouraged.

The standard funding tools of the Energy Research Programme is supplemented for this call with a special funding format for micro projects. This is aimed to accelerate the needed transformation of the heating sector. Micro projects may eg take the shape of preparatory work for larger-scale collaborative R&D projects or cover the final development steps ahead of the market introduction of technologies. BMWK offers a simplified, one-step application process for micro projects.

This call is open to industry-led research consortia which consist of multiple partners. Eligible to participate in a consortium are the following types of organisations in Germany:

  • Commercial businesses including freelancers, start-ups and SME.
  • Scientific and research institutions.
  • Associations and foundations with research capacities.
  • Local governance and public administration bodies.

Micro Projects: The format is targeted particularly at commercial businesses, industry and local governance. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups are particularly encouraged to submit an application.

Funding is provided in the form of a non-repayable project grant on the basis of eligible project-related costs. Institutions of higher education and non-commercial research institutes are eligible to funding of up to 100% of eligible costs. Commercial applicants are generally expected to cover part of their project-related costs.

Micro projects are supported for six months. In justified cases, funding of 12 months may be granted. The maximum funding amount for micro projects is €200,000 or €50,000, depending on the type of applicant and the type of project.

The scheme generally comprises a two-stage application process with an initial invitation for project proposals followed by the submission of a formal funding application for selected consortia. In the case of micro projects, a simplified application process is available.

There are two selection rounds with deadlines on 31 December 2022 and 28 February 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)