Narva power stations to start fueling Tartu hydrogen buses

Narva Power Plants in eastern Ida-Viru County.
Narva Power Plants in eastern Ida-Viru County. Source: Peeter Langovits/Postimees/Scanpix

Plans are in place for power stations in the eastern Estonian town of Narva to start producing hydrogen as transport fuel, ETV's 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Monday. The buses themselves service Tartu.

Andres Vainola, board chair at AS Enefit Power, a subsidiary of state-owned energy generator Eesti Energia, told AK that: "We are currently working with our partners in producing hydrogen at our own Baltic power plant."

"Hydrogen tanker trucks could shuttle between Tartu [and Narva], for example. I know that the city of Tartu is planning to use the first three hydrogen buses. This would be where we could start," Vainola added.

The eletrolysis of hydrogen, i.e. separating water into hydrogen and oxygen, has been utilized in Narva power stations for over 50 years, AK reported, but interest has been piqued in its potential usage with the arrival of the green revolution.

"A large [hydrogen-powered] public transport bus, for example, could consume around ten tons of hydrogen per annum," Vainola said.

This would mean capacity currently would allow for at least two hydrogen buses to operate, he said. "As of today, we can produce a total of about 20-25 tonnes per year for two power plants. We are definitely able to sell it currently, because our own hydrogen demand is much lower [than that]."

The Narva power plants in any case use the hydrogen produced, which is of high quality and would suit as vehicle fuel, to cool generators.

There are currently a handful of hydrogen buses operating in Estonia, though this figure is likely to grow in future.

President Alar Karis told AK that: "Tests are underway. At present, there is exactly enough capacity to run these three buses a year. But if the tests prove successful, it will certainly be viable to move on from here, as the question is not how to produce hydrogen, but how to transport it."

Andres Vainola said solutions on refueling and transport are being sought with partners Alexela and GO Group.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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