At the time, when Europe is challenged by an energy crisis, Estonia is keen to find solutions by focusing on developing next-generation high-tech solutions for both energy security and green transition.
Estonia has established the world’s first national hydrogen valley and H2 tech testbed following ‘the country as a sandbox’ principles to pilot new innovations on a country scale. In close cooperation between the academia, community, public and private sector, the Estonian hydrogen valley will offer a complete and full nationwide hydrogen value chain for R&D, testing and deployment, speeding up the country’s energy transition and innovation.
Estonia is becoming a leading hub for hydrogen technologies innovation
“The fact that Estonia is establishing a nationwide hydrogen valley is a huge milestone that means Estonia will truly become a hydrogen country and one of the pathfinders in the energy transition,” notes Raido Lember, Business Development Manager at Invest Estonia.
In the coming six years, green hydrogen production will be developed in at least six regions of Estonia. At the same time, the transport and storage infrastructure will be developed, including import and export terminal infrastructure, fuelling stations and warehouses. The hydrogen produced in Estonia will be used in public transport, heavy trucks, railways, shipping, aviation, and other modes of transport. Furthermore, it will be used as feedstock in the industry, for net balancing and heating. A large number of innovation, research and development projects are involved. Estonian hydrogen valley has about 30 projects under development, but more parties and projects are expected.
“With creating the hydrogen valley, Estonia is officially taking real-life actions to become a leading GreenTech development centre and the largest producer of green energy per capita in the world,” says Lember. “Estonia’s massive off-shore wind energy capacity alone allows us to become an important hydrogen exporter in the future. The upcoming infrastructure, R&D and testbeds on land, air, seas and waters shall be a playground for innovation, accelerating energy tech transformation globally.” Offshore wind parks are the main producers of hydrogen energy.
Estonia’s miracle lab
“Much of the brains behind the Estonian hydrogen valley comes from the University of Tartu ecosystem and from its miracle chemistry lab,” notes Lember.
The miracle chemistry lab, to which Lember refers, wares a complicated name – the European Centre of Excellence “Advanced materials and high-technology devices for energy recuperation systems”. However, this lab addresses cutting-edge science and technology, involving stakeholders from industry, decision-makers and society to develop functional materials for environmentally friendly sustainable energy technologies, sensors and electronics.
“This lab has played an important role in deep tech development. Their discoveries have been used in Skeleton’s ultracapacitors that have four times the power density of Tesla’s,” Lember says.
“In the coming years, we may see the next generation of world-class energy technologies coming out from Estonia, following the success of Skeleton Technologies, Power Up Technologies and Elcogen,” Lember believes.
A wide network of supporters for implementation
Founding partners include Port of Tallinn, Tallinn Airport, Alexela, Eesti Energia, Terminal, the University of Tartu, Municipality of Tartu, Municipality of Pärnu, and the Island of Saarema.
The Estonian hydrogen valley includes a wide network of private and public organisations such as XFly, Stargate Hydrogen, Skeleton Technologies, Aviation Academy, University of Tartu, Tallinn University of Technology, TS Laevad, Liwathon, Elmo Rent, Alexela, HHLA TK, Estiko, Tallinn Airport, Skycorp, Estonian Energy, City of Tartu, Tartu Terminal, City of Keila, Saaremaa, Pärnu County, City of Põlva, and municipalitiy of Lääne-Harju.
The Estonian hydrogen valley development process is led by a consortium of the Estonian Hydrogen Association, Dutch consultants &flux and New Energy Coalition.
Ultimately, this exclusive valley will become part of a large-scale hydrogen valley around the Baltic and the North Sea corridor, reaching across the European continent.