Hydrogen in Finland – Current Situation
Finland has launched
National Hydrogen Roadmap
Finland has set an ambitious goal to become carbon-neutral by 2035.
The important role in the achievement of this objective is set to increased use of hydrogen, which is reflected in the recently revealed National Hydrogen Roadmap. The roadmap has been developed by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland by order of Business Finland-Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel, and investment promotion.
However, the strong emphasis is placed on the need to increase carbon-neutral hydrogen production, which can be achieved with the growing capacity of renewable energy generation. As noted in the report produced by VTT, Finland has sufficient potential for wind-power electricity generation, both offshore and onshore.
The problem is that while the most suitable areas for wind-turbines installation are in the North of Finland, the majority of existing hydrogen-producing facilities are located in the South, close to the industrial customers.
The Roadmap outlines the current state of hydrogen production, usage, and projects the further growth perspectives to the year 2030.
Finland already has strong experience in the industrial use of hydrogen, particularly in oil refining and biofuel production.
Furthermore, with the growing pressure to reduce emissions other sectors, such as ore refining are expected to expand the use of hydrogen.
Another perspective area to use the hydrogen are various power-to-x (P2X) applications.
At the moment, there are several projects and companies in Finland working in those directions.
That enables usage of excessive by-product hydrogen together with CO2 and therefore decreases the overall process emissions by producing for example synthetic fuel, which can be, used in such transportation areas where the current state of battery technologies does not allow shifting to fully-electric applications.
Overall, the report while accounting for the number of treats identifies the great potential of Finland in moving towards a hydrogen economy highlighting that it will not only support the achievement of environmental objectives but also facilitate economic and industrial development by creating numerous new business opportunities.
Low-emission industrial solution by
modular applications that enable mass production
Shifting towards a carbon-neutral economy should not be considered just as an ambitious target but rather than a necessity and the question of the modern world's survival.
Such a shift, indeed, dramatically affects businesses operating in all economic sectors and forces them to seek low-emission industrial solutions. Exploring Power-to-x (P2X) technologies may lead to improve the energy and cost efficiency of key technologies.
The most recent developments revealed in Remarkable CO2 emission reductions by modular power (P2XEnable) project. The project is a joint effort of LUT-University, Aalto University, and a group of industrial companies committed to the green future.
The project received funding from Business Finland, the public organization directed by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. The project objective is to support companies in the transition towards energy-efficient and emission-free processes and explore the expertise which has been accumulated in Finnish universities.
The basic idea of P2X technology is to convert electricity to another form of energy, which in case needed, can be back into electricity. P2X technology has a wide array of possible applications including the production of synthetic fuels, various chemicals, and even edible proteins.
The role of P2X technologies in pursuing climate goals is well-recognized in Finland. P2X technology has been extensively researched at LUT University since 2014.
According to Jarmo Partanen, LUT’s electrical engineering professor and the director of the P2XEnable project, the key P2X technologies of the research projects include hydrogen production through water electrolysis, carbon dioxide capture from the atmosphere and seawater, methanol synthesis with a novel modular reactor, and high-temperature heat storages.
The P2XEnable project will provide models on economics and technology for electric food production out of air and carbon dioxide by electricity. This study will be the first globally which examines the potentials for businesses in this area to this extent.
Exploring Hydrogen Utilization Opportunities
Facilitating the Transition towards
Finland has been involved actively in hydrogen energy projects over the past decade.
As hydrogen technology plays an important role in moving towards clean energy and reducing climate change, Finland focuses on hydrogen energy and fuel cells both on low and high-temperature technologies. Like proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) and solid oxide fuel cell & electrolyzer technologies (SOFC & SOEC).
GE wind turbines to provide green energy as carbon offset for Lundin oil fields.
Devices that are used to produce hydrogen from water and electricity from hydrogen are combined into a reversible solid oxide cell (rSOC) system to produce clean and efficient hydrogen production. rSOC devices can be installed in connection with a wind farm to produce and store hydrogen, which can be converted to electricity for peak-times usage or to a vehicle refueling station. Additionally, the hydrogen produced can be used as a raw material in chemical industries by connecting the rSOC system. It is possible to utilize fuels such as natural gas or biogas with rSOC systems.
VTT is the technical research center of Finland, which is highly involved in several hydrogen projects in Europe and currently coordinates in different EU/H2020 projects. VTT focuses on PEMFC research related to the development of the integration of hydrogen utilization and fuel cell systems. As well, SOFC cells are tested and characterized in VTT’s laboratories. The in-house testing infrastructure of such fuel cells makes it possible to measure the customer needs more efficiently.
“Hydrogen, which is widely used in industrial processes, is also suitable for fuel and energy storage and can be produced from water without emissions”.
Hydrogen, as a flexible energy carrier can be used in the transformation to renewable energy. However, storing, transporting, and usage of compressed or liquid hydrogen will not be safe and efficient. Finnish SMEs, energy producers, and user sectors show huge feasibility in energy storage.
“Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) are liquid hydrogen batteries, which can be reversibly hydrogenated and dehydrogenated using catalysts and elevated temperatures”.
LOHCs would offer the solutions for energy storage as they are flexible in storage times and capacities.
“The LOHC concept could serve as storage of renewable electricity and energy for demanding use in Finland, including energy sectors, residential use, shipping, and mobile applications”.