What Helsinki Hydrogen Hub means for international companies

The Helsinki Hydrogen Hub (3H2) is first of a kind, putting Helsinki at the forefront of the green hydrogen industry. Here’s what it means for international businesses eyeing the scene.

6 min read

Committed to a climate-friendly future, Helsinki’s mission is to be carbon neutral by 2030. This push opens up exciting opportunities in clean energy, especially green (or clean) hydrogen.

Green hydrogen is set to become one of the world’s largest markets as we shift towards cleaner energy solutions across the globe. Finland’s government program, “A strong and committed Finland,” maps out a vision for Finland to lead the way in the hydrogen economy, making it a prime spot for hydrogen projects.

Taking a leading role in this growing market, Helsinki energy company Helen is investing in Helsinki’s first green hydrogen production plant: Helsinki Hydrogen Hub (3H2).

What does this new hub mean for international businesses eyeing the green hydrogen scene, whether to use hydrogen as a source of electricity or develop hydrogen-related solutions? We break down Helsinki’s hydrogen capabilities, and the benefits for companies considering investing in R&D centres here.

The Helsinki Hydrogen Hub (3H2) in a nutshell

With 3H2, Helen aims to pilot green hydrogen production and boost energy efficiency and flexibility in Helsinki’s energy systems.

Taking a step back, “green” or “clean” hydrogen refers to hydrogen made from low-carbon or renewable electricity, offering a powerful way to cut down on pollution and emissions. It can also be used to decarbonise heavy industries like steel manufacturing.

As the first of its kind in the world, 3H2 will use wind and solar power to produce green hydrogen for electricity, transport, heating, and energy storage. With 3H2, waste heat generated in hydrogen production will be used in Helsinki’s district heating network, making this project more energy efficient than any others so far.

“What makes this project first of a kind is the integration of four sectors: electricity, hydrogen, transportation and heat,” says Tuukka Hartikka, Vice President, Hydrogen & Power to X at Helen.

Helen aims to launch hydrogen production in the new plant in 2026 and Helen’s partner will open the filling station in 2027. The project will reduce CO2 emissions by 3,700 tonnes per year. After constructing the pilot plant, Helen plans to launch large-scale hydrogen production in the Vuosaari power plant area.

All companies offering hydrogen vehicles, boats, ferries, etc., are welcome to offer their solutions in Helsinki, as we can provide hydrogen for these applications.

Tuukka Hartikka, Vice President, Hydrogen & Power to X at Helen

Tuukka sheds light on the perks of this project for international companies: “The 3H2 project aims to solve the chicken-and-egg problem that has persisted in the transportation sector in Finland. Therefore, all companies offering hydrogen vehicles, boats, ferries, etc., are welcome to offer their solutions in Helsinki, as we can provide hydrogen for these applications.”

The pilot project will offer plenty of learning opportunities in the hydrogen economy. Tuukka shares: “We will gain experience in operating hydrogen plants flexibly and autonomously with

the help of a digital twin. This will make it possible to simulate plant operations, making them more efficient and robust.”

Helsinki Hydrogen infographic.

Benefits for businesses investing in Helsinki

What makes Finland the perfect launchpad for driving the green hydrogen industry? Well, it’s a mix of Finland’s top-notch ICT expertise, advanced technologies, and solid infrastructure all backing the hydrogen sector.

These are the key benefits companies investing in Helsinki can expect.

Clean electricity & grid capabilities

Finland is a powerhouse when it comes to clean electricity production, with 94% of our electricity already emission-free, and CO2 emissions as low as 33g/kWh—way below the EU average of 220g/kWh.

The surge in clean electricity, especially from wind power, is paving the way for green hydrogen production. Thanks to our windy, flat landscape, wind power is not only Finland’s fastest-growing electricity source but also the most cost-effective. We expect wind power to grow from 6 GW in 2024 to 23 GW by 2030.

Finland also has one of the most advanced and reliable national grids in the world. Over the past years, Finland has made big investments in the main grid to make it super reliable and strong. And Finland is investing another €4 billion into the main grid to support more renewable energy production and secure energy supply for industrial growth.

Strong industrial & technological expertise

Finland has high-tech, committed industrial companies covering the whole value chain that already have the knowhow, technology, and infrastructure to use hydrogen. These companies have plenty of experience in industrial hydrogen applications, from refining petroleum and treating metals to producing biofuels and fertilisers.

Convion, for instance, is teaming up with VTT to supply fuel cells to domestic and international companies, supporting the clean energy transition with high temperature electrochemical solutions.

Our pool of highly educated ICT and engineering talent offers a solid base for developing and integrating complex hydrogen systems. This talent pool is a great mix of experienced and younger talent, with 53% of Helsinki’s workforce having over a decade of engineering experience and 26,500 new engineering graduates entering the scene annually.

To top it off, Finland’s industrial infrastructure, including district heating systems, energy-intensive industries, and ports, offer vast opportunities for hydrogen integration across sectors, optimising cost efficiency and energy utilisation.

Co-innovation and R&D in clean technologies

Finland is a hub of technical excellence in R&D, specialising in advanced functional materials, chemical synthesis, and energy storage.

Collaboration is key to scaling up the green hydrogen economy, and there’s no shortage of avenues for collaborative R&D ventures in Helsinki, with organisations like VTT, Hydrogen Research Forum Finland, and Aalto University’s H2 Innovation Center. Finnish companies and universities are eager to partner with international collaborators and investors to drive hydrogen innovations on a global scale.

Simo Säynevirta, Chair of the Steering Group of Hydrogen Cluster Finland, explains: “Finland is one of the leading innovation environments in Europe, and Helsinki is the home of Europe’s best start-up event, Slush. The hydrogen economy is emerging as the next frontier of innovation activity, based on excellent collaboration between academia, research institutes, and companies. One of the latest developments is the launch of the Hydrogen Innovation Center at Aalto University, bringing together research from all the relevant fields and the leading companies to commercialise the results.”

The whole Finnish hydrogen industry is working towards the same goal, and organised via a cluster network: In early 2021, Finnish operators in the hydrogen sector established a joint body, Hydrogen Cluster Finland, which includes more than 90 companies and 6 other organisations representing the entire value chain. This cluster welcomes dialogue and collaboration with companies and platforms active in the hydrogen economy to create sustainable innovation and business opportunities in Finland, Europe, and around the globe.

The hydrogen economy is emerging as the next frontier of innovation activity, based on excellent collaboration between academia, research institutes, and companies.

Simo Säynevirta, Chair of the Steering Group of Hydrogen Cluster Finland

Business Finland’s new initiative, the Hydrogen & Batteries – Dual Helix of Decarbonization program further fuels collaboration and growth in the hydrogen and battery sectors, providing services like innovation and research funding for foreign companies registered in Finland.

With 3H2, Helen is already teaming up with multiple partners across the value chain. Tuukka shares: “We have established a strong cooperation with Vireon, which is planning to build a

network of hydrogen refuelling stations in Finland. We aim to enable the broader adoption of hydrogen across various sectors and seek to collaborate with companies that are innovating new applications for renewable hydrogen.”

Helen is also looking into large-scale hydrogen production as a part of the Uusimaa region hydrogen valley project. “We want to collaborate with reliable and innovative technology and solution providers on building more sustainable, efficient, and flexible energy systems,” says Tuukka.

High-value economic opportunities

Now is the right time to tap into Helsinki’s hydrogen ecosystem. By 2030, the hydrogen market is projected to reach over €250 billion, with an impressive annual growth rate of 7.3% anticipated from 2022 to 2030.

In Finland, strong government and industry commitment to promoting the hydrogen industry, concrete funding initiatives, and innovative infrastructure projects provide high value opportunities for international companies.

Finland is well-connected through existing hydrogen networks to neighbouring countries via the Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector, which has received EU approval.

This project is designed to identify the feasibility of a hydrrogen network from Finland, if successful Finland would have the capacity to supply 10% of the EU’s clean hydrogen by 2030, resulting in an opportunity for annual revenues of €16-34 billion by 2035.

This presents a promising landscape for international companies looking to lead the charge in the green energy transition. Both private enterprises and public entities here are actively seeking sustainable energy solutions to improve their environmental performance.

Develop your green hydrogen solution in Helsinki

Simo from Hydrogen Cluster Finland sums up what makes Finland the ideal place for clean hydrogen development: “Finland’s key strengths in the hydrogen field are based on clean, robust, and cost competitive electricity system, a high tech society with a predictable low risk investment environment, ample supply of clean water and biogenic CO2, as well as excellent opportunities for taking advantage of the side streams of hydrogen production. One such example is the valorization of excess heat from hydrogen production in the district heating of Helsinki.”

Helsinki is the perfect place to launch, develop or scale your green solution. Test your ideas here, and you’ll be ready to take them global.

To learn more about hydrogen partnerships and R&D in Helsinki, contact our senior advisor Sami Häikiö.

Sami Häikiö Portrait

Sami Häikiö

Senior Advisor, Growth and Investments

Green Transition


+358 40 769 0717

Juhana Hurtig