The North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley (NAHV) officially kicked off in Portorož, Slovenia, where more than 100 delegates representing 37 project partners from three countries, Croatia, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region in Italy and Slovenia, gathered.
Beginning on 1 September 2023, the NAHV will run for 72 months and it includes 17 pilots to be developed in different locations in all three partner countries.
The partnership, which has been awarded a grant of 25 million euros by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and is led by HSE, Slovenia’s largest electricity producer and trader and the largest producer of electricity from renewable sources, includes 37 organisations: companies, universities, institutes and other public entities from the three participating countries.
“HSE Group is a leading protagonist of Slovenia’s green transition, which brings a great responsibility,” stated Tomaž Štokelj, CEO of HSE. “All our development projects are therefore directed towards decarbonisation and sustainable transformation of the Slovenian energy sector and therefore, of Slovenia as a whole and the NAHV project is fully consistent with this vision. Hydrogen is emerging as one of the key energy sources of the future, as it will make an important contribution to achieving national targets and the key objectives of the European Green Deal.”
The project design covers the entire value chain of renewable hydrogen use, from production, through storage and distribution, to its end use in various sectors, notably industry and land and maritime transport, creating leverage to accelerate the transition to renewables on three target pillars: hard-to-abate industries, energy and transport sectors.
The key aim of the initiative is to create a market for green hydrogen on both the demand and supply sides, making it a competitive energy source for the future. Key industry players from all three countries will develop pilot projects to produce up to 5,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year from renewable energy sources, destined for energy storage, distribution and use. It is expected that some 20 per cent of the produced renewable hydrogen will be exchanged between the participating countries, thus creating a primary regional market for hydrogen. By introducing advanced hydrogen technologies and developing skills and infrastructure, the partnership also pursues other key objectives of the European Green Deal.
“NAHV project will elevate hydrogen economy and mark three territories as hydrogen friendly,” commented Ivo Milatić, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Croatia. “We aim to be an important lever in the creation of a clean, strong and sustainable economy.”
It is expected that the implementation of the planned mature stage innovation activities will unleash further investments in renewable hydrogen-related technologies in an amount of more than 300 million euros, destined to increase the capacity of hydrogen production, storage, transmission and use. Additional investments are expected to be funded on top, both during the course of the project implementation and afterwards, from private and public sources in the form of follow-up investments in the successfully implemented pilots in 17 testbed locations across the three participating countries, as well as through new initiatives which will contribute to the evolution of a social and economic ecosystem based on renewable hydrogen.
The foreseen development creates also the need for new competencies and skills, which makes the universities and research institutions which are partners in the initiative important protagonists in designing and disseminating new educational programmes, as the NAHV is destined to become a vehicle for job creation.
“The NAHV is launching the creation of a comprehensive ecosystem for the transition to renewable hydrogen, integrating production and service activities and the needs of households and citizens and creating the jobs of the future through the design of the necessary skills and competencies,” said Stephen Taylor, Strategic Coordinator of the NAHV Joint Task Force.
“The Clean Hydrogen Partnership is proud to support the creation of the first integrated and transnational green hydrogen ecosystem in the north Adriatic region,” concluded Mirela Atanasiu, Interim Executive Director of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. “The project will contribute to the European Commission’s ambitions of doubling the numbers of Hydrogen Valleys in Europe and advance the decarbonisation of the energy, transport and industry sectors whilst contributing to job creation and economic growth in the region. With its impressive collaboration of 37 public and private organisations from Slovenia, Italy and Croatia, the North Adriatic cross-border Hydrogen Valley reflects the true European and collaborative nature of the project and can serve as a blueprint for similar Hydrogen Valleys across and beyond Europe.”