The hydrogen solution for electricity generation and storage planned for Vaasa has been granted EUR 14 million in investment aid

The electricity storage and production solution based on renewable hydrogen production planned for Vaasa received a boost when the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland granted the project investment aid of more than EUR 14 million in December 2021.

EPV Energy, Vaasan Sähkö and Wärtsilä aim to build a Power-to-X-to-Power system that will enable a new way of storing renewable energy. It will also make it possible to pilot a hydrogen-based energy production solution that is suitable for the global export market.

“Unique in size, this development project aims to produce hydrogen from renewable energy sources and store it for use later as a fuel for electricity generation. The solution would, for example, allow renewable electricity to be used to produce hydrogen when electricity demand is low and hydrogen to be used in the hydrogen-fuelled generator to produce electricity when the demand for electricity increases. This will bring much-needed flexibility to the electricity market,” says Vaasan Sähkö’s Development Director Hans-Alexander Öst.

The energy would be generated in a state-of-the-art engine power plant developed by Wärtsilä.

“The novelty value of the project lies in the combination of the production, storage and use of renewable hydrogen in an engine power plant. The resulting system will be integrated into the electricity market and the local district heating network. In addition, the engine power plant must be designed and tested to be suitable for hydrogen use. The project represents a new way of thinking about the integration of systems for the use of renewable carbon-free fuels and will serve as a model for new opportunities in the global market,” says Jukka Lehtonen, Vice President, Technology and Product Management at Wärtsilä Energy.

“The planned system includes an electrolysis plant to produce hydrogen from renewable electricity and water, a hydrogen storage facility and a hydrogen engine power plant for the production of electricity from stored hydrogen. The heat generated as a by-product of the processes is channelled to the underground thermal storage caverns for district heating located in the area,” says Reetta Kaila, Director of Sustainable Fuels and the Environment at Wärtsilä Energy.

The energy system of the future will consist of many different components. In addition to traditional production investments, much more needs to be done to keep the energy system under control.

“Much of the energy we will use in the future will come from solar and wind power. Because the availability of new electricity will depend on nature, the new energy system will be more difficult to control, which is why we will need ways to store zero-emission electricity and use it to meet society’s energy requirements. Hydrogen produced with electricity is one way to meet these requirements. The future hydrogen production plant is seen as an important part of energy generation and the zero-emission solutions for heat and power generation. In this case, the aim is to integrate the heat from the hydrogen and energy production into the region’s existing rock caverns for thermal storage, while maximising the overall efficiency of the system,” says Niko Paaso, Vice President, EPV Power, who is responsible for EPV Energy’s separate production of electricity.

Hydrogen is expected to play an important role in achieving global climate goals. With renewable electricity, hydrogen can be produced completely emission-free.

The investment decision is expected to be made in the spring of 2022 and the project is scheduled for completion in 2024. During the development phase, the share of hydrogen as a fuel for the engine power plant will be gradually increased. The aim of the project is to showcase an engine power plant run 100% with renewable hydrogen by the end of 2026, and after that to use 100% renewable hydrogen or other renewable fuels in the plant.

For more information contact:

Niko Paaso
Vice President, EPV Heat, separate production of electricity
+358 10 505 5034

Jukka Lehtonen
Vice President, Technology and Product Management
Wärtsilä Energy
+358 10 709 6530

Hans-Alexander Öst
Development Director, Vaasan Sähkö Oy
+358 6 324 5350