Evolving a cross-border ecosystem with renewable hydrogen
Evolving a cross-border ecosystem with renewable hydrogen


Ljubljana, 26 July 2023 – Holding Slovenske Elektrarne (HSE), the leading partner in the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley (NAHV) project, last week signed with the Clean Hydrogen Partnership Joint Undertaking, a contract on the co-funding of the NAHV project, involving EUR 25 million in grants, on behalf of the entire consortium, which it leads. This act served as the official green light for the implementation of this transnational European project as part of the Horizon Europe programme, which is aimed at establishing a dedicated hydrogen valley. The project will be implemented as of 1 September 2023, will take 72 months and feature seventeen pilot projects in various locations in all three partner countries.

The partnership led by HSE, the country’s largest electricity producer and trader and the largest producer of electricity from renewable sources, features 37 organisations: companies, universities, institutes and other public institutions from three counties: Slovenia, Croatia and Italy – the autonomous region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. The concept of the project encompasses the entire chain of the use of renewable hydrogen, from the production to storage and distribution to its end use in various sectors, mainly industry and land and maritime transport. It is also because of this that the NAHV project received the Seal of Excellence, which is awarded as part of the Horizon Europe programme to projects that have been assessed as excellent.

Industrial stakeholders from all three countries will develop pilot projects for the production of more than 5,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year from renewable energy sources and its storage, distribution and use. One of the most important objectives of the project is to a renewable hydrogen market, both in terms of demand and supply, which would make it a competitive energy product of the future. By introducing advanced technologies for the utilisation of hydrogen and by developing know-how and infrastructure, the project also pursues other key objectives of the European Green Deal. In particular, it concerns the decarbonisation of major industrial sectors, such as steel and cement production, as well as sustainable transport solutions related to reducing the carbon footprint. In this way, the NAHV project begins to create a comprehensive ecosystem for the transition to the use of renewable hydrogen, which includes production and service activities and the needs of households and citizens, thus creating the jobs of the future by planning the required skills and competencies.

“We are proud that the exceptionally interesting and promising North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project has been declared one of the best in the Horizon Europe tender and that we are a leading partner in it,” said Tomaž Štokelj, the chief executive officer of HSE, expressing satisfaction that the HSE Group will actively participate in the project. As part of the total of 5,000 tonnes of hydrogen that has been forecast, infrastructure for the production of up to 3,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year is to be installed in the area of ​​the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant (TEŠ), which will further contribute to the just transition of this coal region.

 “The hydrogen valley project is fully compliant with the vision of HSE – the spearhead of Slovenia’s green transition. Hydrogen is one of the key energy products of the future, enabling us to make a significant contribution to achieving national and European goals in the field of decarbonisation, while at the same time putting Slovenia on the global map of hydrogen valleys. The NAHV project has already been placed on the Mission Innovation Hydrogen Valley Platform, which is managed by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, an European association for hydrogen,” added Tomaž Štokelj, the chief executive officer of HSE.

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