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The consortium agreement for establishing a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem was signed

On Friday, March 15, 2024, eighteen companies, organisations and municipalities signed a consortium agreement for establishing a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem.

On Friday, March 15, 2024, eighteen companies, organisations and municipalities signed a consortium agreement for establishing a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem. Their efforts for the cross-sector integration in establishing the value chain of hydrogen from low-carbon sources in Slovenia were also supported by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy, the Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sport and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Several activities are taking place in Slovenia at the local and national levels to achieve the goals of a green energy transition and ensure a low-carbon future. Hydrogen is increasingly being highlighted as a potentially central medium for converting and storing excess energy from low-carbon sources, which can be used in energy, transport, or industry. To accelerate the introduction of hydrogen as a sustainable fuel of the future, the Slovenian Japanese Business Council, the Engineering Academy of Slovenia, and ELES formed a consortium of stakeholders with similar interests and perspectives.

Today, eighteen companies, municipalities and organisations solemnly signed a consortium agreement for establishing a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem. The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Energy, the Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sport and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs also expressed their support. The consortium is probably the biggest one established in Slovenia so far, as it has access to more than 6,500 experts from various fields and decades of experience in industrial engineering.
In his introductory speech, the director of ELES, Aleksander Mervar, said that a year and a half had passed since he expressed to the then-president of the NEDO agency his intention to form a consortium for hydrogen technologies in Slovenia, with which they would like to find a Japanese partner who could apply for grants from the NEDO agency. He added that he got an encouraging response but a clear message that everything depends on us. "My idea after visiting Tokyo in November 2022 was based on activities consisting of several steps. First, a strong Slovenian consortium should be assembled to partner with a potential Japanese partner, who should apply for the NEDO funds. The next step is signing the agreement with the Japanese partner. The final step is the implementation of one or more demonstration projects. As of today, the intermediate step that began last June is over with the signing of the consortium agreement," concluded Mervar.

The promotion of hydrogen technologies and the integration of hydrogen into the future energy system is, of course, also supported by the state. Therefore, the event participants were addressed by Tanja Fajon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs; Igor Papič, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation; Bojan Kumer, Minister of Environment, Climate and Energy, and Matjaž Han, Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sports. From their perspective, they emphasised the importance of hydrogen as a vector that we need to be able to use excess electricity from distributed renewable energy sources and strengthen cross-sector cooperation and ensure a successful green transition and fulfilment of commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon welcomed the establishment of a consortium for the production and use of green hydrogen and the ever-closer connection between Slovenia and Japan, which is shown by the fact that Japanese companies are currently the most significant Asian investors in Slovenia: "We know that such joint projects exceed only economic interest. They promote new connections in many areas, seek solutions to our common challenges and deepen trust between the two countries. Slovenia and Japan are not partnering only in the economic field, but also in many global issues and organisations, such as participation in the UN Security Council this year, where both countries are currently non-permanent members."
Minister of the Environment, Climate and Energy Bojan Kumer emphasised the vital role of hydrogen in the coming decades, especially in decarbonising the economy. He highlighted the cross-border project of the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley, which can significantly contribute to the development of the hydrogen industry. "New technologies, especially those related to hydrogen, are a key building block for an effective fight against climate change," he added.
On this occasion, the Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport Matjaž Han emphasised the importance of the energy independence of the European Union and Slovenia: "If ever, the European Union needs a strong industry now. But for this to work, we also need reliable and sufficient energy sources. Energy independence is even more important in times of geopolitical instability. At the same time, for the sake of our planet, we must think in the direction of green energy as much as possible. And hydrogen is one of the key elements in the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, both in energy-intensive industry and in transport."
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Igor Papič pointed out that the idea of a new project in the field of hydrogen technologies was also supported by the European Commission and the Hydrogen Europe association, and Slovenia desires that partners from Japan also participate in the project. "Hydrogen technologies are certainly an alternative for mobility, industrial use and seasonal energy storage, which is why the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation supports projects, partnerships and initiatives in this area," says Minister Papič.
The consortium can support the formation of the hydrogen ecosystem by providing infrastructure for demonstration projects, the electricity grid for the transmission and distribution of low-carbon energy, the transmission and distribution gas grid for blending hydrogen with natural gas, electricity generation and storage systems, hydrogen users and other vital resources. However, it lacks a partner with hydrogen equipment manufacturing capabilities, including hydrogen production, storage, transportation equipment, equipment for utilisation and end-use, and technical expertise that could help the hydrogen ecosystem become a reality. Therefore, the consortium recognises the opportunity to continue the excellent cooperation between Slovenian and international partners to develop projects in the field of hydrogen technologies. After successful implementation in Slovenia, those can serve as a model for the EU member states and other countries worldwide.


Consortium for establishing low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem

Members: 
ELES, HSE, Skupina GEN, Elektro Gorenjska, Elektro Ljubljana, Plinovodi, PETROL, Energetika Ljubljana, Talum, Skupina Slovenske železnice, TPV Automotive, SOLVERA LYNX, BTC, Mestna občina Ljubljana, Mestna občina Kranj, Občina Ajdovščina, Slovensko japonski poslovni svet, Inženirska Akademija Slovenije

Institutional support: 
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Ministry of Environment, Climate and Energy, Ministry of Economy, Tourism and Sport, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs

Identified opportunities:

  • operation of city buses with hydrogen propulsion,
  • operation of hydrogen waste collection trucks,
  • installation of hydrogen fueling stations at strategic locations for heavy-duty transport,
  • installation of electrolysers of various sizes and ratings with connection to electric transmission or distribution grid, 
  • installation of hydrogen or mixed gas storage facilities,
  • installation of facilities for blending hydrogen into existing natural gas pipelines,
  • modification of existing gas turbines to burn fuel mixture with hydrogen content,
  • installation of hydrogen-ready gas turbines for combined heat and power generation,
  • use of hydrogen and natural gas mixture as low-carbon heating fuel for district heating,
  • use of hydrogen in industrial processes,
  • hydrogen as a potential low-carbon fuel for aviation,
  • developing a domestic low-carbon hydrogen market,
  • and others.

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