On the 8th of October, the Arctic Economic Council (AEC), MEDEF International, France’s most active business association at an international level, together with the Hydrogen Task Force, hosted a joint webinar on the Development and Business Opportunities of low-carbon Hydrogen in the Arctic. Swedish iron mine LKAB, Norwegian Equinor, Russian Rosatom, and French TOTAL Energies shared their visions on the commercialisation of hydrogen production in the Arctic.

“Today, hydrogen is seen as one of the most interesting solutions to facilitate the green transformation. Hydrogen is a decarbonisation solution for many industries like mining and transportation. It is a solution to cut down the emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases locally and internationally. The Arctic has plenty of energy resources, vast territories, abundant freshwater, and access to key transport hubs. These are important preconditions for commercial hydrogen use and production,” said Mads Qvist Frederiksen, the AEC Director.

According to IEA, demand for hydrogen has grown more than threefold since 1975 and continues to rise. More and more countries directly support investment in hydrogen technologies. All the Arctic states have adopted road maps to facilitate hydrogen production development.

The hydrogen market is in the stage of formation and is moving in two directions. On the one hand, we witness international supply chains coming in. On the other hand, industrial enterprises are looking into shifting to low-carbon energy fuel produced locally.

“Driven by the SDGs, the world is embarking on hydrogen. Although currently there are no international sales, hydrogen consumption is projected to rise both in Europe as well as in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Elena Pashina, Marketing Director at Rusatom Overseas.

Rosatom is currently working on several pilot hydrogen projects development. One of them is the ongoing pilot hydrogen project at Kola nuclear power plant that aims to supply hydrogen and ammonia for local industry consumption in the Russian Arctic and European market. As the project will scale up, Rosatom will also test synthetic fuel production.

LKAB’s Hybrit project is another example of locally produced hydrogen consumption. Europe’s largest iron-ore producer with production facilities in Northern Sweden is shifting to hydrogen fuel to make sponge iron, used as a raw material in steelmaking. The pilot project has demonstrated the viability of using hydrogen in the mine-to-steel value chain. By 2026 LKAB will begin full industrial-scale production of fossil-free sponge iron.  The transition will stimulate the labour market and directly create up to 3000 workplaces in the European Arctic.

Equinor has carbon capture (both CCS and CCUS), hydrogen, and electrification projects in its portfolio. Equinor’s Barents Blue project will produce and export hydrogen and ammonia from Northern Norway to maritime transportation.

“To implement decarbonising solutions, we need a financial framework from the authorities to absorb the costs. Then industry and government will go hand in hand. Importantly, the market should develop too and willing to pay for carbon zero-products,” said Steinar EIKAAS, Vice President Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor.