A second seminar for the project H2 Ecosystem Roadmap (for Ostrobothnia) was arranged remotely on the 10th of February 2022. Kaisa Penttilä, Hanken School of Economics, was the moderator and the central objective was to get deeper insights in the process from ideation to project planning within the hydrogen theme. Over 80 participants were present and a good spirit was observed among the audience during the workshop.
Before the seminar started, Kjell-Owe Ahlskog, Alcea, presented the report The role of small- and medium sized companies in a future global hydrogen ecosystem (available in Swedish and Finnish).
Five cases were presented and later discussed in smaller groups. Kenneth Widell, Wärtsilä and Niko Toppari, EPV presented the first case H-Flex-E (Hydrogen Flexibility Energy) - a joint venture co-created by Wärtsilä, EPV, Vaasan Sähkö and the City of Vaasa.
– The essence of this project is the volatility at the electricity market. When the electricity price is low, it is transformed into hydrogen through electrolysis. The hydrogen is stored pressurized and then, when the electricity price goes up, hydrogen can be used in gas engines to produce electricity, Widell explained. Industry synergies are also created through utilizing the excess heat produced at different points in the process.
The second case was about REH2, presented by Martina Wettin, Nilsson Energy.
– Together with the Swedish State and the Swedish Protection Agency, Nilsson Energy have invested in building a completely national network of 24 refuelling hydrogen stations. This will happen fast, and in 2025 all of these will be in place at RASTA truck stops, Wettin explained.
The third case was about Kanäs port and industrial area with old oil caverns and the possibility for large scale hydrogen storage, presented by Mats Brandt, Regional Council of Ostrobothnia.
– There is a good infrastructure linking the cavern site to the original power grid. However, the big question in this case is how the cavern can be transformed from a fossil fuel facility to a more sustainable solution. Is hydrogen a viable option or should the owners look at other alternatives?, Brandt challenged the participants to give their input on options for the municipality to go forward with the case.
The fourth case was presented by Rasmus Hautala, representing the regional companies Dynamo Närpes and Kristiinan kaupungin elinkeinokeskus.
– According to VEBIC (the former Levon Institute) Kristiinankaupunki will be 300 % self-sufficient in energy mainly by wind power and bioenergy fuels. Can a hydrogen ecosystem be the solution? And if so, what would happen with this hydrogen and who should buy the electrolysers?, Hautala explained and pointed out as some of the challenges.
The last case was about a digital solution for market synergies. Ashkan Fredström and Emma Buss, Hanken, explained that a market platform unifying hydrogen producers and consumers could facilitate a future hydrogen market.
– We could start with a minimum viable system that could become more established, Fredström explained.
After the case presentations, all participants were divided into one of the groups to discuss the case together with the case owners and facilitators. 65 participants worked on brainstorming around the challenges and next steps, focusing on each particular case.
Each group had lively discussions and many interesting insights were shared, when the facilitators presented the results of the workshop discussions to the webinar participants.
The seminar ended with presentations and a panel discussion on how to take the next steps for these kinds of projects.
Krishnaswamy Sankaran, Radical Innovations Group AB, presented some of their ongoing work internationally and emphasized that the EU and governments want to fund the development of ecosystems that have a commercially proven idea that can result in job creation and revenue.
- Idea owners should not try to invent the wheel again but utilize expert help to build these ecosystems. Complementarity between actors that join a project is essential because there is also a political aspect to the projects. You need to have the right collaborators on board to get your voice heard at the EU level, Sankaran pointed out.
Timo Ropponen, Spinverse, talked about how they work with clients willing to create new business where innovation constitutes a strong element and where there are clear opportunities for scaling these up for the global market.
– We arrange for example innovation challenges and hackathons and can later on take on ecosystem management to help these ecosystems flourish. You can set up ecosystems, but to keep them alive is the challenge, Ropponen explained.
Matti Rautkivi, Nordic Ren-Gas Oy, presented examples of their ongoing projects in Finland, which will make it possible for even whole cities to have a negative carbon footprint.
- Finland is the best place to develop further the sustainable transition also from the perspective of hydrogen. However, we need to have the motors who build these innovative business models. The most important thing is that you have a clear focus and strategy, that you put together an excellent team, and execute, Rautkivi emphasized.
We want to thank all participants, case owners, facilitators and speakers for taking part in this event. Next up is Energy Week that will be held 21st-25th of March and another workshop within the H2 Ecosystem Roadmap (for Ostrobothnia) project is planned to be arranged in early June 2022.