Photo author: Vidzeme planning region
For the next three years, the Latvian Water Production Association, SIA “ZAAO”, the Vidzeme Planning Region, as well as several other companies and organizations from Estonia and the Netherlands will work together to plan, build and test the potential of green hydrogen in the transport sector step by step until November 2025. regions, showing the cooperation of Tartu and Vidzeme region as an example. With the help of the H2Value project, the first interregional green hydrogen value chain will be created in Southern Estonia, Tartu region, and Northern Latvia, Vidzeme region, Baiba Šelkovska, representative of the Vidzeme planning region, informed the “Valmieras Ziņas” portal.
Realizing that freight transport and the number of private cars continue to grow, therefore the transport sector remains one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the European Union, greater emphasis is placed on various technological solutions that would make vehicles more efficient and promote low emission and wider use of zero-emission vehicles. Changing the existing car to an electric car is most often emphasized as, for example, currently in Latvia, residents are given financial support for the purchase of new or used industrially produced electric cars and for the purchase of new industrially produced externally chargeable hybrid cars. On the other hand, in many parts of the world, hydrogen is slowly starting to take its place in order to ensure emission-free transport in the future.
At the end of 2022, the project “Support for the regional development of the value chain of “green” hydrogen energy used in transport in Estonia and Latvia” (hereinafter also – H2Value) was launched, in which the main task will be to create a small-scale green hydrogen production plant in the Tartu region using electricity generated by the sun, to create a green hydrogen filling station and practically test the possibilities of transporting green hydrogen by road, so that it can be used as a fuel source for running specially adapted cars. Green hydrogen, also known as pure or renewable hydrogen, got its name because water is split into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis using electricity from renewable energy sources (solar, wind energy). Crucially, this process does not produce greenhouse gases. “Technology and export-intensive, sustainable energy production from renewable resources is the priority area of smart specialization of the Vidzeme region, and one of our tasks is to achieve the creation and implementation of new models and systems for the use of renewable energy,” emphasizes Laila Gercāne, Development and head of the project department.
Right here in Europe, the northern region of the Netherlands has set the goal of becoming a “Hydrogen Valley” by 2026, or a geographical area where the entire hydrogen value chain is located, starting from its production, transportation and storage, up to the use of hydrogen for local final consumption – electricity generation, residential heating, integration in industrial processes and the transport sector. On the other hand, for small regions, this alternative energy source poses several challenges for its implementation, due to the lack of knowledge about its safe use in the transport sector. An important aspect is the cost of the necessary technologies for the production of green hydrogen for a small amount of consumption, thus the costs are currently high, and the necessary infrastructure is also lacking. The first step agreed by the project partners at the launch meeting in December 2022 in the city of Tartu is to carefully prepare the International Green Hydrogen Energy System Development Plan to calculate the costs of the necessary technologies for the production, storage, transportation of green hydrogen, which will form the final price of hydrogen itself by 1 kg of hydrogen.
The H2Value team from Latvia consists of Latvian Water Harvesting Association, SIA “ZAAO” and Vidzeme planning region; from Estonia – Tartu Municipality, Baltic Innovation Agency, electricity company “ESTIKO Elekter OU”, Estonian Hydrogen Technology Association and AS “Alexela” company. From the Netherlands, the New Energy Coalition will contribute to the project and share its experience.
The H2Value project is being implemented under the 2021-2027 program of the Interregional Innovation Investment Instrument (I3) of the European Regional Development Fund. within the framework of the grant agreement no. 101083881. It is a new financial instrument intended to support innovative investments, boost the economy through green technologies and create sustainability in the industry/transport sector. The I3 instrument also provides support for interregional investments in sustainable food systems, sustainable agriculture, clean and efficient energy, sustainable industry, construction and renovation, sustainable mobility, pollution prevention and climate action. For more information: https://eismea.ec.europa.eu/programmes/interregional-innovation-investments-i3-instrument_en