Hydrogen Valley Estonia established to boost the development of a hydrogen economy
Alexela, Eesti Energia, the Port of Tallinn, the University of Tartu and the Estonian Hydrogen Association have today signed an agreement to establish Hydrogen Valley Estonia to accelerate the vigorous and versatile development of the hydrogen industry and to officially establish the world’s first nationwide Hydrogen Valley.
Boosting development in the field of green hydrogen based on renewable energy is set to play a key role in implementing green transformation and achieving Estonia’s national climate goals. The European Union and Estonia’s ambitious goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 has brought about the need to significantly accelerate the development and implementation of green technologies. In the upcoming decades, hydrogen will be one of the most important keywords, contributing to the green transformation as a means for storage and as an energy carrier, as examples.
According to Marek Alliksoo, head of international projects at the Estonian Hydrogen Association coordinating the Hydrogen Valley, Hydrogen Valleys mostly include a single city or region, but Hydrogen Valley Estonia will be developing the world’s first nationwide Hydrogen Valley.
“Silicon Valley in the United States is a global centre for cutting-edge technology and innovation, whereas Hydrogen Valley Estonia will aim to develop a centre for hydrogen economy technology and innovation in our region,” Alliksoo said. “The agreement we have signed today will transform an enthusiasm-based initiative into a formal association that will allow us to move forward with cooperation on hydrogen, and build the hydrogen economy faster, smoother and more efficiently, in order to contribute to the implementation of the green transformation.”
Hydrogen Valley Estonia is a consortium of Estonian public and private capital-based organisations and research institutions aimed at making the local energy system, based primarily on fossil fuels, more sustainable. This fits in with Estonia’s ambitious goal of using only 100% renewable energy by 2030 at the latest. In 2022, Hydrogen Valley Estonia formulated a plan to develop the world’s first national hydrogen ecosystem, and the first production units, distribution solutions and applications will be created within the next six years. This hydrogen ecosystem will create new jobs and contribute to economic growth throughout Estonia.
To achieve these ambitious goals, the main short term objectives of Hydrogen Valley Estonia are the selection of an executive director and the signing, publication and implementation of the established strategy and work plan. The successful cooperation between the consortium members has already resulted in the launch of several high-potential projects which will help promote the hydrogen sector in Estonia.
“We have launched an international pilot project in collaboration with companies, and as a result, it will be possible for us to test out the hydrogen bus and hydrogen refuelling in Tartu in 2025. There is great potential in the use of green hydrogen in the transport sector, but today, no green hydrogen is produced yet in Estonia and there are no refuelling options, either” said Raimond Tamm, the Deputy Mayor of Tartu. “As hydrogen will be playing an important role in our future energy system, the city of Tartu, in collaboration with partners, has participated in the creation of Hydrogen Valley Estonia to boost the hydrogen economy,” Tamm added.
According to Marti Hääl, Chairman of the Management Board of Alexela, it will not be long until hydrogen fuelling stations are here: “Alexela has started developing public hydrogen fuelling stations and the goal is to open the first one in Tallinn in 2024. The next steps include the expansion of the Alexela fuelling stations along the European TEN-T network and the provision of the hydrogen refuelling capacity for various types of transport and consumers in Pärnu, Tartu and Eastern Estonia.”
The Hydrogen Valley Estonia Support Group already includes more than 30 local and international institutions, and new partners are very welcome. The strategy and work plan for the Hydrogen Valley will be open to the public, to support the creation of synergies between the parties involved. All of this supports the creation of suitable conditions in Estonia as a test environment, where the introduction of green hydrogen procedures can be accelerated, to play an important role in combining economic growth and climate objectives.
According to Joonas Vänto, the Director of Estonian Investment Agency, energy technologies such as hydrogen technologies are one of the strategic focus areas of Estonian Investment Agency. “Our goal is to involve foreign direct investments in projects where there is a market failure or where it is necessary to help out with innovation. We are constantly in touch with international investors, funds and international enterprises, and we support Estonian companies in finding foreign direct investments, so that Estonia can become a leading green industry country in the world,” said Vänto.
The Steering Group of Hydrogen Valley Estonia includes Alexela, Eesti Energia, the Port of Tallinn, the University of Tartu and the City of Tartu.
In addition to the Steering Group, the work of the Hydrogen Valley is contributed to by Support Group members Auve Tech, Baltic Work Boats, Clever Cities, Drannel, Estonian Aviation Academy, Elcogen, Elering, Elmo Rent, Estiko, H2Electro, Harju Entrepreneurship and Development Centre, HHLA TK, Keila City Government, Liwathon E.O.S., Lääne-Harju Rural Municipality, MP Industries, Pakri S&I Park, PowerUp Energy Technologies, Pärnu County Development Centre, Põlva Rural Municipality, Saare Development Centre, Saare Wind Energy, Skeleton Technologies, SKYCORP, Stargate Hydrogen, Tallinn Airport, Tallinn University of Technology, the City of Tartu, Tartu Vocational College, Tartu Terminal, Association of Municipalities of Tartu County, TiVo – Taltech Hydrogen Organisation, TS Laevad, XFly.
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