Helen Launches Helsinki's First Green Hydrogen Production Facility

Helen Launches Helsinki’s First Green Hydrogen Production Facility

Helen is set to construct Helsinki’s inaugural facility for green h2 production in Nordsjö, marking a significant advancement in the city’s move towards sustainable energy solutions. This pioneering hydrogen project by Helen is critical for gaining essential knowledge on large-scale hydrogen production and ensuring smooth operations across the entire energy system. It is also Helsinki’s first foray into green hydrogen production.

The pilot plant, named the Helsinki Hydrogen Hub (3H2), boasts a capacity of approximately three megawatts. The hydrogen produced will primarily fuel a hydrogen station dedicated to heavy traffic, situated near the facility. Additionally, hydrogen can be distributed to customers in containers. Located near Helsinki’s district heating network and the bustling Nordsjö port, the plant leverages the waste heat from the production process in Helen’s district heating network, achieving an overall energy efficiency of over 90%.

Sari Mannonen, Helen’s Director for New Business Ventures and Hydrogen, expressed enthusiasm about the project, highlighting it as a first-of-its-kind globally that integrates electricity, traffic, heating, and hydrogen for seamless functionality. Green hydrogen is a key component of Helen’s new strategy, with a commitment to developing the hydrogen sector’s business operations. The initiative to build a new green hydrogen production facility in Helsinki aligns with this strategy.

The project aims to commence hydrogen production by 2026 and open the refueling station by 2027, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 3,700 tons annually. This figure accounts for the replacement of fossil fuels in heavy traffic and the utilization of waste heat in the district heating network. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has granted the project €8.25 million in investment support for large demonstration projects in new energy technology, with an additional €292,500 from the Environmental Penny fund allocated for hydrogen storage and transport containers.

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The 3H2 facility will produce green hydrogen using renewable electricity, making the production process emission-free. Traditional hydrogen production using fossil fuels generates significant carbon dioxide emissions, making green hydrogen an appealing option for heavy traffic and other sectors challenging to electrify.

This project represents the world’s first hydrogen initiative to seamlessly integrate into the optimization of society’s total energy system across electricity, heat, traffic, and hydrogen markets. It serves as a solution when flexibility is needed in the energy system. Utilizing waste heat from hydrogen production in Helsinki’s district heating network will result in significantly better energy efficiency compared to other projects to date.

The goal of the project is to test green hydrogen production and optimize production in relation to hydrogen demand, renewable electricity production, and the electricity market. It aims to ensure the functionality of new hydrogen technologies, maximize energy efficiency, and enhance the smooth operation of the energy system.

Following the completion of the pilot facility, Helen has announced intentions to initiate extensive hydrogen production at the Nordsjö power plant area. Preliminary investigations for the development of an industrial hydrogen cluster in Nyland, in collaboration with Neste Abp, Gasgrid Finland Oy, and Vanda Energi Ab, have also begun.

Helen is committed to achieving climate-neutral energy production by 2030 and plans to phase out combustion by 2040. The company’s electricity production already primarily consists of wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear power. In heating production, the continuous increase in sustainable bioenergy, heat pumps utilizing waste and ambient heat, and electric boilers is underway. Hydrogen will also play a significant role in a sustainable energy system moving forward.

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