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Tartu working towards becoming a hydrogen valley: hydrogen is the future and the future is now

Estonian Hydrogen Days took place for the first time in the beginning of July during two intensive days in Tartu - a town wishing to become the future hydrogen capital.

On July 5-6, 2021, Estonian Hydrogen Days took place for the first time in Tartu with a conference and expo day taking at Ahhaa Centre and science day in the University of Tartu’s Institute of Chemistry. Developments in the field of hydrogen in Europe and Estonia were introduced and activities related to hydrogen in the scientific world iscussed, with further focus on the use of hydrogen in aviation.

World’s first autonomous hydrogen bus was presented

Substantial moment of these days was the public launch of the world´s first autonomous hydrogen vehicle, created by the Estonian enterprise Auve Tech in cooperation with University of Tartu researchers. The first passenger on the vehicle was the President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid, who emphasised in her speech that the development of a hydrogen shuttle is not only an important milestone in the integration of two promising future technologies, but also marks a major step towards the new reality in which people and innovative scientific solutions meet in everyday life. (Read more here).

Hydrogen is the future

The conference was opened by Raimond Tamm, Deputy Mayor of Tartu, who confirmed that Tartu is working towards becoming an important hydrogen center – or as he puts it, a hydrogen valley. He emphasised that hydrogen does not only constitute a part of the green transition but creates new business opportunities. “Today we believe that together with private companies we are ready to put into practise hydrogen based solutions that enable us to move towards climate neutrality,” Tamm said.

Catherine Trautmann, European Coordinator for the North Sea–Baltic core network corridor addressed the TEN-T policy outlooks, while Grzegorz Pawelec from Hydrogen Europe introduced the European hydrogen policy. Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of FCH JU (The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) encouraged Estonians to dive into the hydrogen economy.

Local policy side was presented by Liis Kasemets, Advisor to Secretary General in the Ministry of the Environment, and Jaanus Uiga, Director of Energy Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. Business outlooks and future plans were presented by the representatives of energy and fuel companies such as Estiko, Alexela, Terminal and Elering.

Aviation focus programme was opened by Director-General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, Henrik Hololei, and Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, Andres Sutt.

Full recap of Tartu Hydrogen Days

See the full recap of the conference here:

13.55 – Opening Remarks, Deputy Mayor of Tartu, Raimond Tamm
25.25 – TEN-T policy, European Coordinator for the North Sea–Baltic core network corridor, Catherine Trautmann
33.35 – European Hydrogen policy, Hydrogen Europe, Grzegorz Pawelec
49.00 – State of play of FCH JU Activity, Executive Director FCH JU, Bart Biebuyck
1.08.45 – Why Hydrogen?, Ministry of Environment of Estonia, Liis Kasemets
1.29.10 – Estonian Energy Policy and Hydrogen, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Jaanus Uiga
1.44.55 – Estonian value chains for green Hydrogen, Estonian Hydrogen Cluster, Sven Parkel
1.56.45 – Hydrogen Valley Roadmap – Tartu, Estiko Energia, Ain Tammvere (in Estonian)
2.30.40 – Hydrogen Valleys, Patrick Cnubben
3.00.00 – Role of Energy Cooperatives, Tartu Regional Energy Agency, Martin Kikas
3.10.40 – Port of Tallinn – converting ambitions into action, Port of Tallinn, Hele-Mai Metsal
3.25.45 – NeptHyne – From Innovation to International Cooperation, NeptHyne, Tomasz Pelc
3.37.20 – Space for Green Applications, Tartu Science Park/ESA, Andrus Kurvits
4.59.25 – Alexela project pipeline,  Alexela, Aivo Adamson
5.12.55 – Hydrogen Refueling Stations in Estonia, Tartu Terminal, Jörgen Õigus
5.24.00 – Self-Driving H2 Bus,  AuveTech, Johannes Mossov
5.37.00 – Hydrogen in Transport, University of Tartu, Enn Lust
5.58.35 – Hydrogen Backbone,  Elering, Karl Kivinurm
6.15.50 – Hydrogen refuelling opportunities in Estonia, Atrado, Erik Kuus
6.45.40 – Supercaps in renewables and transport, Skeleton, Egert Valmra
7.03.10 – CO2-free pyrolysis as an alternative to electrolysis – Mr. Illimar Parts (in Estonian)

Estonia – future for aviation

Aviation focus programme can be accessed in full here:


41.40 – Aviation in Europe, DG MOVE, Henrik Hololei
59.10 – Estonia – future for aviation?, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology,  Andres Sutt
1.16.30 – Climate Neutral Aviation Roadmap, Estonian Aviation Cluster, Kristo Reinsalu
1.31.30 – Hydrogen Aviation, Xfly, Jan Palmer
1.49.30 – Dutch experience, &Flux, Petrus Postma
2.04.15 – Enabling Growth, Estonian Aviation Academy, Karl-Eerik Unt

Hydrogen and science

Science day programme can be accessed in full here:


17.00 – Hydrogen technologies development in Europe, Japan and USA, Enn Lust
58.50 – Synthesis of carbon materials and development of supercapacitors in UT, Ph.D Thomas Thomberg
1.20.30 – Novel Na-ion batteries based on Estonian peat derived carbons, M.Sc. Anu Adamson
1.40.30 – Thin film hydrogen storage materials development in UT, Ph.D. Rasmus Palm
3.10.30 – Development of PEM FC materials and devices, Ph.D. Jaak Neerut
3.32.00 – Development of solid oxide fuel cell materials, Ph.D. Gunnar Nurk
3.55.00 – Investigation of solid oxide electrolysis cell materials and single cells, Ph.D. Martin Maide
4.17.25 – Development of first Estonian FC Car Iseauto and energy storage demo complex in Chemicum, Ph.D. student Rait Kanarbik

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