Varanger KraftHydrogen AS and Norwegian Hydrogen AS announces collaboration

- Will build fuelling stations for hydrogen in Finnmark
Jens Berge
Christian Bue

Press release:

- Our ambition is for the first fueling stations for hydrogen to be opened in Eastern Finnmark during 2023, says CEO of Norwegian Hydrogen, Jens Berge, and CEO of Varanger KraftHydrogen, Christian Bue. They hope that companies, the public sector, and private individuals will consider green hydrogen produced in Berlevåg as an attractive solution for cutting emissions. If customers want green hydrogen delivered in a container or for a ship that needs a bunkering solution, they will also offer that.

Green Hydrogen production in Berlevåg

Locally produced hydrogen

Finnmark has Norway's largest factory for the production of green hydrogen. It is located in Berlevåg and is owned by Varanger KraftHydrogen - a subsidiary of Varanger Kraft. Now, the plans to use the hydrogen are about to be realized, through a collaboration with the company Norwegian Hydrogen.

- We have entered into a cooperation agreement that states that we will produce green hydrogen, and Norwegian Hydrogen will build the fueling infrastructure and distribute the hydrogen. Together we will help the market mature and work with potential customers. It is a collaboration we believe has great potential, says Bue.

Will invest in Finnmark

Norwegian Hydrogen’s head office is in Ålesund, but the company is also present in several other locations in the Nordic region. They have several projects in both Sweden and Denmark, but CEO Jens Berge emphasizes that they are serious about the collaboration with Varanger KraftHydrogen and that the company will invest in Finnmark. - The fact that hydrogen is already being produced in Finnmark is unique and a reason to invest. We also experience that both municipalities and Finnmark county are far more proactive here than in other parts of the country. In addition, we of course believe that this will be good business in the long run.

Berge reveals that they have already entered into an agreement to rent an office in Berlevåg and have established a separate company with responsibility for Arctic areas, Arctic Hydrogen AS.
- Initially, this will be staffed part-time with people from the company's other offices. But as soon as we start building infrastructure, we also want local employees, Berge says.

3-4 stations in the first phase

In the first phase, the two companies are planning 3-4 stations in East Finnmark. Berlevåg is given since that is where the factory is located, but where should the others be located? - We want to create a "hydrogen corridor" between Berlevåg and Kirkenes. Exactly where the stations will be placed depends most of all on where the users are. Should Finnmark county decide on a hydrogen bus between Vardø and Kirkenes, Vardø will be a natural place for a fueling station. And if a machine contractor in Vadsø or Vestre Jakobselv wants to go for hydrogen, this will be a natural location. For such customers, mobile solutions may also be relevant, for example swapping hydrogen containers with direct fueling available.

An emission-free energy carrier

Cars, buses, or other vehicles/vessels that run on hydrogen will only emit clean water. Since the hydrogen from Berlevåg is produced from renewable electricity, it is green and emission-free in both production and use. This means that those who choose to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen can cut all their emissions. - In Finnmark, we have a unique opportunity to create a comprehensive value chain for zero emissions from hydrogen. We must seize that opportunity!

Seeking support from Enova

Hydrogen production in Berlevåg has started thanks to funding support from EU. For the fueling infrastructure, both Norwegian Hydrogen and Varanger KraftHydrogen expect Norwegian Enova to grant support. - When the first electric fast chargers arrived in Finnmark, Enova was willing to pay 100% of the investment cost, while the operator had to take responsibility for the risk associated with operations. Such a model should also be possible for the first hydrogen fueling stations, Bue and Berge believes. - Finnmark is perhaps the county in Norway that has received the least electric car subsidies. Now we can offer a local zero-emission solution without range issues or charging problems in the winter, and we expect Enova to step up to make this available.

Bigger plans in the long run

Even though the collaboration starts with fueling stations in East Finnmark, the ambitions are far greater in the long run. - We want to expand hydrogen fueling infrastructure throughout Finnmark, and Norwegian Hydrogen also has plans to expand production and fueling stations in the rest of the Nordic region together with other partners. The dialogue with potential users of hydrogen is good. We have great faith in the future of green hydrogen produced in Berlevåg, the two conclude.