Ukraine has appeared on the global hydrogen valley platform
Full-scale war and the absence of a legislative basis for the development of hydrogen technologies in Ukraine do not stop the movement of Ukrainian hydrogen stakeholders towards the implementation of this prospective industry for the whole world. Another significant step towards this was made on May 8, 2023, during the digital relaunch of the Mission Innovation Hydrogen Valley platform, which, among others, included a project by the Ukrainian company "HYDROGEN UKRAINE".
Welcome to the platform
The Mission Innovation Hydrogen Valley Platform – the Global Platform of Hydrogen Valleys - was created under the aegis of Mission Innovation, which includes 23 European countries, and is funded by the European Commission with the aim of developing a new hydrogen economy and transitioning to green energy. Hydrogen ambassadors consider openness of information about the world's hydrogen valleys and the possibility of exchanging it to be the key to successfully achieving this ambitious goal. The platform itself is designed to satisfy the information needs of politicians, businessmen, scientists, investors, project developers - all current and future members of the hydrogen community.
The Hydrogen Platform provides exhaustive information about the most developed and ambitious hydrogen valleys around the world. Based on a large collection of primary data conducted with the support of Mission Innovation member states, the platform also provides information about implemented technologies, details of financing, stakeholder management, remaining barriers to implementation, and key factors for project success.
The enhancement of the platform to a 'single window' format for information gathering and cooperation among project developers, governments, and all interested parties was implemented by the consulting firms Roland Berger and Inycom.
The digital relaunch of the updated platform was a landmark event for member countries of the hydrogen community. So, in addition to the presentation of the updated digital platform, a substantive dialogue between representatives of the hydrogen valleys also took place.
The key moments of global development of hydrogen valleys in terms of coalition creation and project management were discussed by
- Anamaria Zianveni, Project Manager, Encevo - Grande Region Hydrogen
- Gert 't Hark, Head of Business Development, EWE - Clean Hydrogen Coastline
- Nils Rokke, Executive Vice President for Sustainable Development, Sintef - H2 Valley Mid-Norway
- Stephen Taylor, Director/Technical Advisor, Science Park Territory - North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley
Experts were interested in the experience of developing hydrogen valleys, namely the experience of involving state and private interested parties, key success factors in managing a wider coalition of project partners, and the legal aspects of their support.
Representatives from the USA, Spain, Brazil, and Ukraine spoke about regional and financial aspects of project development:
- Carlos Navas, Head of Strategy and Regulation, Enagas - Green Hysland
- Pedro Pahares de Tena, CEO of H2B2 - SoHyCal
- Corne Hulst, Pecem Industrial & Port Complex, COO - Ceará – Green Hydrogen House
- Iaroslav Kryl, CEO of "HYDROGEN UKRAINE" LLC - H2U Hydrogen Valley project.
The experts talked about the key drivers of their projects, cases, and difficulties they faced when obtaining state and private financing, and factors that contributed to successful task implementation. The open dialogue and information obtained will be useful for those participants in the discussion who are taking their first steps towards implementing hydrogen projects.
Ukrainian Hydrogen Valley: What? Where? When?
The real Ukrainian hydrogen project, which underwent detailed professional analysis and competed with almost 30 other international companies before landing on the platform, was presented by Iaroslav Kryl, CEO of "HYDROGEN UKRAINE" LLC. The company is a member of the energy association Ukrainian Hydrogen Council. The association is the main stakeholder among those interested in the development of the Ukrainian hydrogen sector and performs the mission of ensuring interaction between Ukrainian and European partners. This includes, very importantly, major industrial companies that have already announced plans for decarbonization of production, thereby joining potential hydrogen consumers.
According to Iaroslav Kryl, the performed technical-economic calculations allowed to identify optimal technologies and resources for hydrogen production, taking into account the scaling of the project. The efficiency of production and costs of hydrogen transportation were assessed. Water resources research confirmed the environmental safety of such production, without negative impact on agriculture and drinking water supply of settlements. Currently, "HYDROGEN UKRAINE" LLC is focusing on developing projects in the field of wind and solar energy, which will become sources of green energy for the future hydrogen production plant. Among the top priorities is the preparation of the entire package of project documentation and obtaining permits to start construction work. Most importantly, as soon as military actions end and Ukraine triumphs, construction should start without delay.
"In hydrogen projects, the consumer plays a key role," noted Iaroslav Kryl. "Of course, we consider the Ukrainian market as promising and priority for us. And we have high hopes that it will develop very quickly after the end of the war. However, today we are an export-oriented company. We are currently negotiating with one of the European steel mills, which has announced plans for a large-scale reconstruction with the replacement of blast furnaces with shaft ones (this refers to the direct reduced iron (DRI) technology, where hydrogen is used as a reductant for iron ore instead of coke, significantly reducing carbon emissions). Thus, the development of hydrogen production in Ukraine in this case will directly depend on the pace of reconstruction at this enterprise and the preparation for the production of green steel.
The hydrogen plant in Ukraine is planned to be built near the city of Reni in the Odessa region for future partnership organization. Among the advantages of the location of the future enterprise are a large amount of water resources, significant potential of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, and a strategic location near the borders of the European Union. The planned electrolyzer capacity of the first stage of construction is 100 MW.
There are certain challenges. The absence of legislation in the field of hydrogen economy in Ukraine is of concern to Ukrainian experts. First of all, the Ukrainian Hydrogen Strategy. Recall that the Hydrogen Strategy of Ukraine for the period up to 2050, developed by the Ukrainian Hydrogen Council in cooperation with the Institute of Renewable Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, was presented at the end of 2021. There is understanding that post-war recovery of Ukraine will open up opportunities for the implementation of new projects and the launch of the latest technologies, both among the authorities and all parties interested in the development of hydrogen energy. This includes foreign partners who express their readiness to participate in the development and implementation of hydrogen ideas in the process of post-war reconstruction of Ukraine.
However, the document, which envisages three stages of development of hydrogen energy in Ukraine, has not been finally approved. In addition, the war in Ukraine has already hindered the laying of the fundamental foundations for hydrogen energy and the launch of the export market for "green" hydrogen, which was planned to be done by 2025.
Nevertheless, despite obstacles, young Ukrainian companies are not standing still, seeking investors, signing international contracts, and working towards the future. And the inclusion of the hydrogen valley near the city of Reni in the Odessa region in the Global Platform of Hydrogen Projects once again vividly confirms that Ukraine is perceived as a full-fledged participant in the European hydrogen community.