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Hydrogen storage and distribution supply chain Collaborative R&D

General & Misc
Project Size:
up to £1 million

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, will work with industry to invest up to £4.35 million in innovation projects. As part of the Future Economy Net Zero Programme this competition will focus on the development of the hydrogen economy.

The aim of this competition is to develop new ways of delivering integrated hydrogen storage and distribution systems and the associated supply chains.

Your proposal must:

  • innovate in the storage or distribution part of the hydrogen value chain
  • integrate with at least one other part of the hydrogen value chain
  • develop the supply chains for hydrogen storage and distribution

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


Your project

Your project must:

  • have total costs of up to a maximum of £1 million
  • start by 1 December 2023
  • end by 31 May 2025
  • last up to 18 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)

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

Academic institutions cannot lead or work alone.

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.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

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 you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

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

Number of applications

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading an application, it can collaborate in any number of applications.

An academic institution, research technology organisation (RTO), charity or public sector organisation can collaborate on any number of applications.

The aim of this competition is to develop new ways of delivering integrated hydrogen storage and distribution systems and the associated supply chains.

Your proposal must show how you will:

  • develop new ways of delivering integrated hydrogen storage and distribution systems
  • develop and reduce the associated cost of UK hydrogen supply chains associated with the storage and distribution of hydrogen
  • push businesses towards commercialisation, accelerating adoption, reducing complexity and cost of hydrogen through demand-led innovation

Your project must demonstrate how it will work across and integrate multiple parts of the hydrogen value chain and tiers of the supply chain. You can include technology, business model development, safety and standardisation.

Your project must span two or more parts of the hydrogen value chain including:

  • production
  • storage
  • distribution
  • use

You must demonstrate how you are developing the UK hydrogen supply chain within the focus area of innovation and how it has included multiple tiers of the hydrogen supply chain.

You can use hydrogen or its low carbon carriers, such as:

  • low carbon ammonia
  • low carbon methanol
  • low carbon liquid organic hydrogen carriers

Projects focussing on a low carbon hydrogen carrier must demonstrate benefit to the development of the hydrogen economy in the UK.

You can develop innovation within different parts of hydrogen storage and distribution supply chain, including:

  • physical infrastructure, for example tanks and pipes
  • digital and optimisation infrastructure
  • components and enabling technologies, for example valves, seals and fittings
  • on-road distribution, for example tube trailers
  • refuelling
  • metering
  • sensing
  • separation
  • compression
  • materials
  • blending and deblending

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

You are encouraged to work across supply chain components to develop new ways of delivering integrated storage and distribution systems, to accelerate adoption, reduce the complexity and cost of hydrogen.

Your project can also consider and develop business models to:

  • reduce the cost of capital
  • attract private investment
  • increase insurability
  • revenue generation models
  • develop the value proposition
  • develop data for investors
  • reduce risk for investors and insurers

Your project can also include aspects of hydrogen production for the purpose of developing an integrated project spanning two or more parts of the hydrogen value chain.

Where hydrogen production is included, this should not be the primary area of innovation within the project. At least 50% of your project costs must be for the storage and distribution elements of your project.

Your proposal must demonstrate a need by including an end customer, such as Tier 1 or original equipment manufacturer (OEM), within your consortium. They can be a funded partner or non-funded project adviser.

You must show evidence of how you have considered the end user of the hydrogen as part of the project. They can be a funded partner or non-funded project adviser.

If you intend or need to work with a transmission or distribution gas network, you must get in touch with Innovate UK before submission of your application. We will discuss your application and its relationship with the Ofgem Strategic Innovation Fund.

Portfolio approach

We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities, research categories and location. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

Your project must focus on one or both of the following parts of the hydrogen value chain:

  • hydrogen storage
  • hydrogen distribution

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