Estonia is taking a leap forward in the world of hydrogen technologies. It has already established the first-ever nationwide hydrogen valley and now moves forward.
The recent Estonian Hydrogen Days 2023 event in Tartu was the perfect platform to showcase the country’s commitment to economic growth and climate protection. Over two days, industry leaders, experts, and enthusiasts gathered to explore the immense potential of hydrogen and its role in shaping a sustainable future.
Turning needs into opportunities
The event kicked off with a powerful message from Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe. He stressed that climate protection is not just an urgent need, but also an incredible opportunity for investment. Rather than viewing hydrogen as a cost, Chatzimarkakis urged everyone to see it as a game-changer that can drive economic growth while addressing climate challenges.
Kadri Simson, the European Union Commissioner for Energy, highlighted the importance of technological and energy independence in hydrogen for the European Union. “Hydrogen holds immense potential, but there’s much work still ahead of us,” she emphasised.
The discussions and panel sessions further reinforced these key points, with the Hydrogen Valley Estonia presentation providing some exciting surprises. The City of Tartu officially joined the Hydrogen Valley consortium agreement, solidifying its commitment to advancing hydrogen technologies.
The Ambassador of the Netherlands, Özlem Canel, extended warm greetings and expressed gratitude to their Dutch colleagues for their pivotal role in establishing Hydrogen Valley Estonia, now recognised as the world’s first nationwide hydrogen valley.
Estonia is a well-known test bed for mobility innovations, and now hydrogen joins the pack. Hydrogen Days shed light on the mobility segment, featuring the JIVE 2 hydrogen bus roadshow overview.
Attendees learned about the successful deployment of hydrogen buses throughout Europe, with the announcement that Tartu would soon welcome a hydrogen bus on its roads starting in September. The presence of a hydrogen bus symbolises the city’s commitment to sustainable transportation and cleaner air.
One of the highlights was David John York from Ballard Power Systems, who shared their remarkable achievement of surpassing 150 million kilometres with their fuel cells on the road. York humorously mentioned that success is when hydrogen and hydrogen vehicles become “boring” because they seamlessly integrate into our everyday lives.
Demystifying new energy
Piotr Mierzwa from Orlen Lietuva discussed the Baltic states’ opportunities and Orlen’s activities. He emphasised that achieving 100% renewable electricity is only possible with green hydrogen. Mierzwa stressed the importance of a systemic approach to ensure a smooth transition and prevent bottlenecks, ultimately positioning countries as green energy exporters.
In addition to these insightful discussions, Tartu University took a captivating approach to dispelling myths about hydrogen’s dangers. Through live demonstrations and an engaging presentation, they showcased the true nature of hydrogen, explaining that while it can create a “bang” under specific conditions, it is not prone to explosive reactions.
The second day of the event focused on working groups dedicated to various aspects of hydrogen technology. Participants engaged in discussions surrounding production, distribution, storage, energy systems, industry, mobility, education, labour, and legal considerations. To boost cooperation, they received briefings from representatives of the Ministries and Invest Estonia, setting the stage for fruitful discussions.
With a nationwide hydrogen valley, advancements in mobility, a focus on clean skills, and collaborative efforts among industry leaders and policymakers, Estonia stands as a beacon of progress in hydrogen technologies.
Invest in hydrogen
“Estonians are developing and implementing a hydrogen initiative that has a huge global market potential to make all weather-dependent green energy usable anytime and everywhere,” notes Joonas Vänto, Director of Invest Estonia. “For foreign investors, it will be an extraordinary opportunity to be a part of future hydrogen business of 2.5 trillion,” Vänto encourages investors to contact Invest Estonia and discuss business opportunities.
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