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Finnish project development company Flexens Oy Ab is set to complete a feasibility study on a project aimed at implementing green hydrogen production and use as a fuel for ferries in the Åland archipelago.

The Power2AX contributes to the Smart Energy Åland project in which Flexens is demonstrating a 100% renewable energy system in the Åland Islands.

Flexens is leading the project together with the Government of Åland and has employed two Finnish engineering and consulting companies, Deltamarin and Elomatic, for the feasibility study. The assessment provides the first estimate for the technical and economic feasibility of the concept covering hydrogen production at a wind farm and using the hydrogen in fuel cell-powered ferries in the Åland archipelago.

Flexens highlighted the hydrogen ferry projects in Stavanger, Orkney and San Francisco – but noted that the Power2AX concept is unique as the project scope also covers green hydrogen production with wind power, providing a full sector coupling approach.

‘The archipelago ferries on Åland emit large share of the local carbon dioxide emissions. At the same time, marine transportation is one of the most challenging sectors in developing 100% renewable energy systems,’ said Aleksi Haverinen, Project Manager of the Power2AX project at Flexens. ‘The Power2AX project is a magnificent opportunity to advance deployment of zero-carbon technologies in the marine industry.’

Christian Wikström, Minister of Infrastructure in the Government of Åland, added: ‘New solutions will be needed to make the archipelago traffic fossil-free and green hydrogen is one of the most promising alternatives for ferries with a travel time of more than 30 minutes.’

Wikström continued: ‘Right now, hydrogen is a hot topic in the EU as a hydrogen strategy was published along [with] heavy investment programs in 2020. The support to deploy hydrogen technologies is expected to increase feasibility also of the Power2AX project.’

The feasibility study is due to finish by the end of November. Flexens and the Government of Åland have started planning the next project phase, for which a support application to EU Innovation Fund has been submitted to advance the project towards investment.

Highlighting the ‘broad project scope’, which involves several new technologies, Flexens says completion of the initiative could be expected by early 2024.

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