Alexela, Eesti Energia, the Port of Tallinn, the University of Tartu and the Estonian Hydrogen Association have 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 have 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, 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.
“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. “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, 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.”
According to Joonas Vänto, energy technologies such as hydrogen technologies are one of the strategic focus areas of the 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.