Purtse wind and solar farm to produce green hydrogen

The Environmental Investment Centre has decided to finance the production of green hydrogen at the Purtse wind and solar farm of Enefit Green, which will be used by Alexela refuelling stations and Go Bus hydrogen buses.

With the support of the EIC, Enefit Green plans to develop a green hydrogen plant with an electrolyser of at least 0.5 MW at the Purtse hybrid farm, which will be able to provide hydrogen for at least seven buses per year. The total cost of the project is 12.5 million euros, of which 9.9 million is the grant.

‘It is important for Enefit Green to use renewable green energy and make clean fuels available,’ said Andres Maasing, Member of the Management Board of Enefit Green. ‘Unlike electricity, hydrogen is good for long-term storage and it can be used where electrification is difficult. The project will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1,200 tonnes, so hydrogen production contributes to a cleaner environment. The use of hydrogen creates additional opportunities for the transport sector, as hydrogen is also suitable for longer distances and large vehicles,’ Maasing said, explaining the importance of green hydrogen.

The green hydrogen production unit will be supplied with electricity by the substation of the Purtse hybrid farm via a direct line to be built for the production unit and the battery storage. During the hours in which the wind and solar farm are not operating, the electricity required for hydrogen production is supplied by the grid or the battery storage. If everything goes according to plan, the hydrogen production unit will be completed in autumn 2025 and hydrogen consumption will begin in 2026.

In the course of the project, Eesti Energia will purchase two hydrogen-powered passenger cars and project partner Alexela two hydrogen-powered lorries and six passenger cars.

Alexela will also build public green hydrogen refuelling stations in Tartu and Sauga and will be responsible for the logistics of hydrogen. ‘As a green innovator, we see great potential in green fuels from renewable sources,’ said Artur Dianov, Head of Alternative Fuels Development of Alexela. ‘The more alternatives and choices we have, the stronger our energy security. Hydrogen is part of the evolution of green energy, and it can only be expedited if the state and the public sector cooperate. The role of Alexela is to ensure a working infrastructure and logistics that ensure smooth transition and maximum user experience. As part of this project, we will also be able to build hydrogen refuelling stations in both Tartu and Pärnu County, in addition to the previously promised stations in Tallinn.’

Go Bus, however, will put into operation three eco-friendly hydrogen buses to service customers on Tartu inner city routes. The City of Tartu, which, alongside Eesti Energia and Alexela, founded Hydrogen Valley Estonia and joined the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, is an important external party to the project.

‘The pilot project will provide a lot of practical knowledge for both local governments as clients and bus operators on the conditions under which it makes sense to use hydrogen buses in future procurements and to which extent,’ said Jüri Etverk, CEO of Go Group. ‘There are many opinions and urban legends about the suitability of hydrogen as the energy carrier of public transport – the goal is to replace them with local experience and knowledge.’

Financed by the European Union – NextGenerationEU