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Åland firm announces plans for Kokkola hydrogen plant

The city is in the centre of Finland's so-called 'wind energy belt'.

The 300 MW plant will be built in the Kokkola Industrial Park. Image: Raila Paavola / Yle
Yle News

Åland-based firm Flexens has announced plans for a 300 megawatt hydrogen plant in Kokkola, Central Ostrobothnia at a press conference on Tuesday. 

The plant will be built in the Kokkola Industrial Park—an area critical for Finland's chemical production industry— and use electrolysis to separate hydrogen from water. 

Hydrogen fuel created from the plant offers a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels. The hydrogen will also be further processed as green ammonia, which can be used as an agricultural fertiliser and as fuel for marine engines. 

Electrolysis is an energy-intensive process and one of the reasons the firm decided on Kokkola was its central location in the "hot spot" of Finland's wind energy production along the country's west coast. While Flexens will not have its own power supply, it will negotiate clean energy contracts with local providers, the firm said. 

Flexens stated that the estimated cost of the plant is 500 million euros and is expected to be operational in 2027. The firm also noted that it would employ dozens of people in the new plant. 

The firm also added that there are ongoing negotiations to feed waste heat from the plant into Kokkola's municipal heating network. 

Hydrogen network in the works

A nationwide hydrogen network is currently being planned and developed by Gasgrid Finland. A functioning infrastructure and market could be ready by 2030. 

Finnish and Swedish hydrogen production plants will be connected by pipeline under the initiative. 

Timo Ritonummi, an industry adviser at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, said that the 300 megawatt Kokkola plant sounded like a big project, even by European standards.

There are currently around twenty hydrogen plants in Finland. They are small, around 20-40 megawatts and not specifically designed around clean energy. In addition, an estimated 200 MW plant is planned for Kristiinankaupunki.

Only one hydrogen project is currently under construction in Finland. Power2X Solutions is building a 20 MW hydrogen plant in Harjavalta.

"Finland could produce 45 percent of Europe's clean hydrogen, and the hydrogen network fits in well with that," said Gasgrid CEO Olli Sipilä

Sipilä said that the project requirements will be identified next year and the Flexens project is a good starting point. 

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