Neste Spearheads Finnish Hydrogen Valley Plans

21.06.2023 - On behalf of the Finnish government, refiner Neste is spearheading the development of a so-called industrial hydrogen valley in the country’s Uusimaa region. Other participants in the recently begun exploratory studies include energy utilities Gasgrid Finland, Helen and Vantaa Energy.

Neste said the joint effort is a step toward in developing a European hydrogen economy that creates industrial investment opportunities and supports Finland’s and the EU’s carbon neutrality goals. Among the first steps will be to evaluate the feasibility of different transmission and storage options.

Finland’s hydrogen valley would encompass infrastructure, storage and transmission of renewable hydrogen, which Neste said would serve both producers and consumers. 

The Porvoo-based refiner, already a European and world leader in renewable energy, said sector integration opportunities are a key element of the plans. In producing renewable hydrogen, significant amounts of renewable heat are generated that can be utilized in district heating, it added. 

As Finland’s largest hydrogen consumer in Finland, Neste said it needs renewable hydrogen to reach its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality in its production by 2035.

Power infrastructure combined with hydrogen storage and distribution infrastructure are key enablers for the hydrogen economy, Ervasti said, adding that by through partnerships industrial companies can discover new paths and unlock “a world of interesting possibilities

“Hydrogen is an essential part of our processes and an efficiently functioning hydrogen valley would be a great way to source hydrogen in the future,” said  Outi Ervasti, the company’s vice president, Renewable Hydrogen.  

In line with its role in promoting the the Finnish hydrogen network and the hydrogen market of the Baltic Sea region, Sara Kärki, senior vice president, Hydrogen Development at Gasgrid Finland, said the company’s task will be to support industrial investment and develop a hydrogen pipeline that links producers and consumers.

Helen is already planning large-scale hydrogen production at its Vuosaari power plant area in Helsinki alongside the 3H2 demonstration project for which it hopes to tap funding from the Finnish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.

The energy provider is also studying the possibility of carbon capture, utilization and storage in its new Vuosaari bioenergy heating plant. “Vantaa Energy aims to become a carbon negative energy company by 2030 take advantage of the opportunities offered by the circular economy, said the company’s business director Kalle Patomeri.

Renewable hydrogen is also as a key enabler for new processes such as carbon capture and utilization that are needed to harness unavoidable emissions such as from Vantaa’s Waste to Energy business operations, Patomeri said. Connecting hydrogen production to the district heating network enables waste heat utilization and contributes to the decarbonization of the Helsinki metropolitan area by reducing emissions, he said.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist