Russia aims to have its first 'experimental' green hydrogen project up and running by June




A tiny demonstration project billed as Russia’s first green hydrogen installation is expected to be up and running on the far-eastern island of Sakhalin by the end of June, according to information attributed to the regional government.

Backed with funds from the federal government, a new “Hydrogen Engineering Centre” in Sakhalin will be located at the Special Design Bureau for Automation Equipment for Marine Research (SKB SAMI) research institute.


The centre will house an “experimental” green hydrogen installation built with Russian-made equipment, powered with 30kW of solar PV.
The first deliveries of 500-watt solar panels have already been made, according to a press notice from the Sakhalin regional government published by Russian-language news agency Interfax.

“The Sakhalin hydrogen test site is the first site of its kind in Russia. The island region won the right to implement a pilot project for the development of hydrogen energy, which was initiated by Russian president Vladimir Putin,” the press notice said.

“If the experiment is successful, in a few years a hydrogen plant will be launched and the export of clean fuel to countries of the Asia-Pacific region.”
However, the scheme risks running into the similar problems finding international buyers as state nuclear developer Rosatom’s 36,500-tonnes-per-year blue H2 scheme on Sakhalin.


The blue hydrogen project, meanwhile, is part-owned by state-backed Russian gas company Gazprom, which started work on the project before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, but has since been sanctioned by Western governments, and has seen its commissioning date pushed back by three years.
In November, Gazprom launched a tender seeking consultants to help the project secure Chinese buyers for its blue hydrogen.

The announcement on green hydrogen comes after regional governor Valery Limarenko met with deputy prime minister and federal minister of industry and trade Denis Manturov in early January, when the pair outlined plans to turn Sakhalin into an eastern H2 cluster, in which the hydrogen engineering centre would showcase Russian-made technology.

Apart from the blue hydrogen project and the “hydrogen engineering centre”, which will house the renewable H2 demonstration, the cluster will also include the development of a passenger rail service powered by hydrogen fuel cells, and associated infrastructure.


“The hydrogen cluster will ensure the technological independence of the Russian Federation in the field of hydrogen and low-carbon technologies, the scaling of these technologies and access to the export of hydrogen and related products to the Asia-Pacific countries,” said Denis Manturov, following the January meeting.

But any electrolysis project on the island would not be green unless it sourced 100% of its power from dedicated renewables capacity, one analyst warned.
"The produced hydrogen can become green if the electricity comes only from renewables, not from the grid, otherwise, it will be grey,“ said Yury Melnikov, who works as an expert within the hydrogen taskforce at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. “Electricity in the Sakhalin Island’s power grid is 100% generated from natural gas and coal.”



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