National Hydrogen Network grows into an international network of regional hydrogen valleys
As the market matures, so do the communication and interaction models to create a single hydrogen economy in the northeastern corner of Europe.
The "National Hydrogen Network" project, coordinated by Raahe Region Development, started building a national hydrogen network of public actors two years ago. At the same time, the network was opened to international cooperation under the BotH₂nia brand. With the collaboration of 42 project partners and public funding from the North Ostrobothnia Regional Council, a network of more than 120 organisations from six countries was successfully grown. Half are from the public sector, and half from the private sector.
The BotH₂nia network has sought to develop hydrogen expertise for all through public-private cooperation. The network's digital publication platform is an essential tool developed in the project. The website www.both2nia.com publishes news in three languages several times a week. The news is shared on the X-platform (formerly Twitter) and the network's LinkedIn account. A newsletter is sent to around 500 subscribers 6-10 times yearly.
Another concept developed in the project is the mobile BotH₂nia Goes events, six of which have been organised so far, in cooperation with network members. They have brought the project as close as possible to practical hydrogen development in different parts of Finland. The most recent network visit was to Pirkanmaa, the following events will occur in Kokkola on 21 November and in Oulu on 15 February.
Other concepts to meet the needs of stakeholders include an events calendar, which gives online visitors a view of hydrogen events in the Baltic Sea region, and a training calendar, which opens up pathways to available training courses in Finland and Sweden.
In the future, the BotH₂nia network wants an even stronger presence in the regions.
Many hydrogen projects are already moving from planning to implementation. Effective communication is needed to ensure projects' broadest possible positive local impact. There must be a link between local communities operating based on open information and closed business ecosystems that act as local drivers for developing the hydrogen economy.
This will help large companies to co-develop and embed projects. SMEs will receive support for business development and job creation. For public sector actors, the network wants to support dissemination and process development to meet the needs of stakeholders. Stakeholders will be given a voice and an arena to discuss locally relevant impacts, and to have them debated as examples by local, regional and national governments.
The BotH₂nia network is in the process of being run by a registered association. The association has received three-year funding from the Strategic Research Council in Finland to create a hydrogen impact forum as part of the JustH2Transit project. Other activities will be funded by the Association's membership fees and by projects to be developed in the future. Creating a local hydrogen ecosystem can be supported by becoming a PRO member of the association.