News / 1.6.2023

Helen is building a hydrogen valley in cooperation with other operators in the Baltic Sea Region

Helen is involved in the EU-funded BalticSeaH2 project that is establishing foundations for Europe’s first cross-border hydrogen valley in the Baltic Sea Region. Hydrogen plays a pivotal role in facilitating the green transition, and this project promotes its extensive adaptation across various industries. Helen strengthens its hydrogen-related capabilities and aims to position itself as a key player in Finland’s emerging hydrogen economy.

The BalticSeaH2 project introduces essential infrastructure to the Baltic Sea Region, enabling various industries to move away from carbon-intensive processes and enhancing energy supply security in Finland and Europe. Green hydrogen offers a viable alternative to fossil fuels e.g. in the steel industry and maritime sector. Additionally, it enables the production of fossil-free fertilisers and other applications.

“The development of hydrogen economy starts with multiple local hydrogen valleys expanding into a Europe-wide market. We are approaching a historical moment as the BalticSeaH2 project creates the capabilities that will help us build a flourishing hydrogen economy. In a few years, Finland could be the engine of the hydrogen industry in Europe, and Helen wants to be in the driver’s seat in this unique development,” says Sari Mannonen, Senior Vice President, Solutions & Portfolio Development at Helen.

Hydrogen brings industries together

EU’s Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking partnership has granted EUR 25 million in funding to the BalticSeaH2 project, which has a total worth of EUR 33 million. The project is coordinated by CLIC Innovation and is joined by 40 partners from nine countries in the Baltic Sea Region: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The partners include industrial companies, technology manufacturers, research institutes, and hydrogen infrastructure companies.

Finland and Estonia are the core countries of the project, as they already possess strong infrastructure connections. The electricity and natural gas pipelines running across the Baltic Sea, along with their close maritime connection, facilitates the expansion of cooperation into the hydrogen economy.

The five-year project will test the end uses of green hydrogen across various sectors, including road transport, maritime, and the chemicals industry as well as electricity and heat production. Overall, sector integration, which leverages synergies across different industries, plays a key role. This will be enabled by a digital optimisation system, which can also be further applied to other hydrogen valleys.

Helen taps into the full range of hydrogen

In the BalticSeaH2 project, Helen is developing the 3H2 – Helsinki Hydrogen Hub pilot plant which integrates hydrogen production with electricity, heating, transport, and energy storage systems. The primary use of the hydrogen produced in the pilot plant with wind and solar electricity is to serve as a fuel for heavy transport. Plans are underway to establish the first hydrogen refuelling station in the capital area within the hydrogen production area. Moreover, the hydrogen can be supplied to industrial applications through container delivery.

“The pilot plant reduces the emissions of transport and district heating, driving both Helen and all of Finland closer to carbon neutrality. Waste heat created in the production of hydrogen can be used in Helen’s district heating network. On the other hand, the hydrogen can also be converted back to electricity and fed into the grid when needed. The opportunities of hydrogen to renew the entire energy system are endless, and I can’t wait to see them realised as concrete projects,” says Mannonen.

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