University of Tartu and H2Electro OÜ to use innovative materials to improve an important link in the hydrogen technology chain

On Friday, 13 August, the University of Tartu and H2Electro OÜ, a subsidiary of Thule Capital AS, signed a research and development contract under which researchers of the University of Tartu Institute of Chemistry led by Professor Enn Lust will build an electrolyser based on novel technology.

The electrolyser is an important link in the cycle of producing green hydrogen, helping to store wind and solar energy as hydrogen. This is necessary, for example, on very windy or sunny days when there is a surplus of green electricity. On windless or cloudy days, the energy stored as hydrogen can be converted into electricity by using fuel cells.

The cooperation partners will start to develop novel solid oxide materials that could be applied in longer-term electrolysis of water at higher temperatures than is possible with the electrolysers currently in use. “High temperature lowers the overvoltage of water degradation and thus increases the efficiency of water degradation, reducing the cost of hydrogen,” explained Enn Lust, Professor of Physical Chemistry of the University of Tartu.

As Estonia has great wind power potential, but the wind is very changeable, Professor Lust finds it necessary to use rapid high-power electrolysers to produce hydrogen and store excess electricity generated with strong wind. “It is also possible to build seasonal and longer-term storage systems for hydrogen and combine them with solar power parks. We hope that in the near future, hydrogen refuelling stations will also be built in Estonia to become part of pan-European high-tech transport corridors, where green hydrogen is the energy carrier," added Lust.

Asko Ant, a board member of H2Electro OÜ, says that the logistics, industrial and home economics sectors are strongly moving towards hydrogen energy solutions worldwide. “We see that the technology we are developing can accelerate the deployment of hydrogen technology. The ambition of H2Electro OÜ is the global deployment of innovative technologies, helping to achieve the goals of green transition," Ant said.

Researchers of the University of Tartu Institute of Chemistry have long-term experience in developing hydrogen technology solutions. A few months ago, in cooperation with AuVe Tech, the first fuel cell created in Estonia was completed, capable of converting hydrogen into electricity. This fuel cell was also taken into use in the world’s first self-driving hydrogen car developed by AuVe Tech. The cooperation currently being launched will allow the results of long-term research by University of Tartu chemists to be tested at the other end of the hydrogen technology chain, where energy from renewable energy power plants needs to be stored as hydrogen.

Thule Capital AS is a company based on Estonian capital, which focuses on business development, innovation and research. The portfolio of Thule Capital includes several green energy companies.

Further information:
Enn Lust, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Director of the University of Tartu Institute of Chemistry, 511 2030, enn.lust [ät] 
Asko Ant, board member of H2Electro OÜ, 5300 9540, asko.ant [ät]