Blaj Fasteners Presents Good Practice at Hydrogen Day

10. 2. 2023

Government representatives, representatives of research institutions, and companies from Germany and Slovenia discussed hydrogen as an opportunity for the economy and carbon neutrality at the Slovenian-German Hydrogen Day. Good practices for this field were presented – among others, the development of bolts for hydrogen engines by the Blaj Fasteners company.

Hydrogen is a source of energy that has water as a side product instead of carbon dioxide and is one of the main currents of European green efforts. On Tuesday January 31, 2023, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia hosted an event for the Slovenian-German Hydrogen Day where they talked about important challenges regarding hydrogen technology in energy production.

The German energy transition agenda takes hydrogen into account, said Marcus Hicken, Director for Energy Diplomacy, Climate and Security, who joined online. The German Ministry for Foreign Affairs will invest €7 billion in domestic hydrogen projects, and 2 billion more in international projects. Dagmar von Bohnstein, President of the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that German companies are prepared to cooperate with Slovene companies in this field. “We would like to see more cooperation with the industry, and our approaches need to be interdisciplinary. The hydrogen industry promises a lot because of the possibility of energy storage, which is impossible with the other green forms of energy production,” said Slovenian Minister for Higher Education, Science and Innovation Igor Papič.

Marko Bahor, Executive Director for Development and Investments, Holding Slovenske elektrarne, d.o.o., pointed out the challenge of acquiring permissions to use and build the appropriate infrastructure at the round table, titled What does hydrogen bring to companies. “Hydrogen would probably be transferred  via pipes in the same way as natural gas. To achieve that, a hydrogen network would have to be built. The most economic solution would be to use the existing gas infrastructure, which in Slovenia, conveniently, already exists with double pipes: one could carry natural gas, and the other hydrogen” said Zoran Marinšek, Head of the Competence Centre for Advanced Control Technologies, Zavod KC STV.“The system is complex and demands cooperation among various disciplines. Slovenian strategy should focus on supporting start-ups, so we can take part in the global value chain,” added Marko Ileršič, Advisor to the manager of the Economic Sector of Plinovodi, d.o.o. Tomaž Bizjak, Co-founder & Managing Director, ReCatalyst, d.o.o., agreed with him and added that start-ups should participate in round tables like this, as well. “At the level of components, the market is still very much closed, therefore we need to work together in Slovenia, we need to connect as the low-hanging fruit has already been picked,” he added. Geert Tjarks, Head of Stakeholder Management, Business Unit Hydrogen, EWE Gasspeicher GmbH, pointed out the issues with hydrogen storage, as the demand for energy sources varies from season to season. “Even with the transition to hydrogen technologies, Germany would still depend on imports. It is important to consider how the existing infrastructure could be used to store the hydrogen surplus for the times of greater demand.” Petra Blaj, CEO of Blaj Fasteners, pointed out that hydrogen is only one of the technologies for sustainable energy sources. “It is not certain that hydrogen will be used as the primary fuel in the future. This role could also be played by methanol or ammonia. At the end, it only matters that the technology is CO2 neutral.”

The event was organised by the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry and partners.

Hydrogen Day was organised by the German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ljubljana, and the Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The German-Slovene Chamber of Commerce and Industry headquartered in Ljubljana is part of the global network for bilateral German chambers of commerce that are located in more than 90 countries world wide.