The Next Generation EU (NGEU) European Recovery Fund is to promote strategic projects for the recovery and for economic transformation. These projects include those related to the themes of the European Green Deal and the achievement of the climate emergency. That is the reason why many of the projects included are proposals related to renewable energies, water, waste management, the reduction of air pollution, the circular economy and the promotion of sustainable mobility.
The Government of Catalonia has selected a total of 27 “emblematic” projects to apply for recovery funds, out of the 542 proposals received from public administrations, private companies, consortiums and third sector entities. The ” Next Generation EU ” has the chance of mobilizing investments estimated in 41,467.8 million euros.
The initiatives have been selected by the Commission for the elaboration of the Plan for Economic Reactivation and Social Protection (CORECO) with the Comitè Assessor Catalunya-Next Generation EU (CONEXT CAT-EU). The selection has been made taking into account 10 prioritization criteria:
These are transformative initiatives with the capacity to attract both public and private agents. They revolve around the transformation of the current production model of Catalonia towards a “more prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable”, according to the project presentation document. The five main axes of the projects are: the economy for life, the ecological transition, the digital transformation, the knowledge society and the cross-cutting that create the social, economic and institutional model towards which Catalonia must progress over the coming decade:
IREC participates in three of the largest projects: decarbonisation, electric batteries and hydrogen:
Among the 27 projects, the biggest budget goes for the “Carbon recovery” project, which will be decisive to position Catalonia as a European benchmark in decarbonisation and circular economy. This project is aligned with the climate neutrality targets set by Europe for 2050 (European Green Deal), and it involves the Government of Catalonia and big companies such as Suez, La Farga, Nedgia Naturgy Group, Holaluz, Factor Energia and Serradora Boix. There are also several clusters involved (including the Efficient Energy Cluster of Catalonia, Modacc and Leather Cluster Barcelona) and other entities such as Texfor, technology centers (EURECAT) and CERCA research centers (including IREC) and others companies and innovation agents.
The second largest project is “Battery Hub”, which aims at strengthen the value chain of electric batteries in Catalonia and Southern Europe. It also includes projects for the transformation of companies throughout the value chain of the automotive sector towards electrification, led by different companies and agents. And it proposes the following infrastructures: a plant for the development of new batteries; a battery box production plant; a battery recycling plant; the development of a new generation of public chargers; and other elements of the chain such as the production of inverters. The Government of Catalonia, mobility and technology sector companies, universities, technology centers, TECNIO centers, CERCA research centers (IREC, ICFO) and research centers (ICMAB-CSIC) are involved in the project.
The third largest project is “Hydrogen Valley of Catalonia” (H2ValleyCAT), which will become the “regional platform with several initiatives around Green Hydrogen in Catalonia by coordinating different territorial projects of knowledge and promotion of hydrogen with the industry, as well as with agents of the Catalan innovation ecosystem. Catalonia’s territory has truly unique environmental factors that make it especially suitable for the development of green hydrogen as an energy vector and its associated value chains. The H2ValleyCAT project aims to position Catalonia as a European benchmark through projects focused on the generation, storage, distribution and use of green hydrogen. It involves the Government of Catalonia, the Green Hydrogen Platform Southern Catalonia, Area 8, URV, IREC, ICIQ, EURECAT, i2cat, AEQT, Port of Tarragona, Tarragona Provincial Council, associations, chambers of commerce and municipal and extra-municipal entities; entrepreneurs and companies as Celsa, Nedgia Naturgy Group, ICL, Somfets, HERA Integral Hydrogen Services, GPA Innova, Evarm, Balfegó, Global CleanTech, Ingea among other businesses, associations and innovation agents.
IREC also participates in the Mobility of the Future and Technological Transformation of Catalan Industry projects:
Mobility of the future: connected, intelligent and autonomous, which aims to integrate different initiatives for the development of solutions in the field of future mobility and the provision of services to the sector to make Catalonia a pole of reference in the field of mobility. The project will promote digital and sustainable solutions; the advanced autonomous functionalities and vehicle-vehicle and vehicle-environment connectivity; and in projects related to the urban mobility to achieving a reduction the emissions. Testing and certification infrastructures for connectivity and autonomy solutions in laboratories will be promoted, both on tracks and in real traffic environments, as well as infrastructures that facilitates vehicle-environment connectivity. It involves the Government of Catalonia, IDIADA, companies (com Ficosa, Silence, Worldsensing, Busup Technologies, Ray Electric Motors, Malena engineering, 4WD JATON RACING SL, ACISA, among others), universities as UPC, CERCA centers (IREC) and technology centers, clusters such as CIAC, Moto cluster, Railgrup, the Clúster de l’Energia Eficient de Catalunya, FEMAC, among others.
Digital and technological transformation of Catalan industry through innovation and the incorporation of technology, which is based on the axes of digitalization and the green economy to become a more digitalized and smarter, a more inclusive and sustainable industry. This transformation aims to boost the industry of the future in Catalonia, contributing to the development and creation of technology companies, as well as the training of professionals in advanced digital skills. This project includes the development of the Digital Innovation Hub of Catalonia DIH4CAT, which will act as a one-stop-shop in the country to raise awareness, support and advise Catalan companies and institutions. Other actions include the design and implementation of spaces that show the applications of intelligent technologies, as well as the testing and development of solutions and projects in the field of industry 4.0 at sectoral and territorial level. In it are involved: the Government of Catalonia, agents of the innovation ecosystem: universities and other entities; technology centers (EURECAT); BSC and TECNIO and CERCA centers (such as ICFO, I2CAT, CVC, IREC, among others); and entities (such as FOMENT, PIMEC, College of Industrial Engineers, among others), private sector actors with the participation of various companies (such as: ICL, Wordeck Solutions, Pal Robotics, CX lab, among others), municipal and extra-municipal entities.
In Next Generation Catalonia document, the Government of Catalonia provides its strategic initiatives that pursue the accomplishment of 11 missions to transform Catalonia in the coming years. The proposals take into account the criteria established by the European Union, the axes and criteria of the Economic Reactivation and Social Protection Plan, the experts’ opinions and the Catalonia’s economic and social agents. The proposals are strategic initiatives that can also benefit from European funds for recovery (MRR, REACT-EU or others). These are investments with specific and powerful purposes in order to increase the well-being of the citizens of Catalonia and make the legacy of the pandemic a more prosperous future.
Please, read the “Next Generation Catalonia document” for detailed information.