H2CRETE Valley Project

  1. Introduction

The global climate and energy crises, which strongly affect the European Union (EU), are driving the transition from a fossil fuel-based energy network to a net-zero energy economy. In this context, Hydrogen (H2) will play a kay role in the energy transition. Hydrogen technologies provide mature and competitive solutions for EU energy security and decarbonization strategies. The hydrogen production process (electrolysis) and the renewable energy source (RES) power generation are becoming cheaper, making Green Hydrogen a strong alternative for transforming many hard-to-abate industries.

The EU aims to achieve a domestic production of 10 million tons of Renewable Hydrogen by 2030. To meet this production target, additional investments in production capacity are necessary, particularly in Green Hydrogen. 

In this context, ProEuropean Trading GmbH is developing the H2CRETE Valley: a pioneering project focused on a large-scale Green Hydrogen production facility of 100 MW, located in Atherinolakos – Crete Island (Greece). H2CRETE Valley aims to not only lead the way in Green Hydrogen production but also serve as a flagship project for the entire industry, creating ripple effects in various areas, including knowledge transfer, contributions to standardization activities, and the decarbonization of sectors such as mobility and power generation. Moreover, the H2CRETE project will develop pricing models, techno-economic analyses, and insights, paving the way for the establishment of the European Green Hydrogen Industry.

  1. ProEuropean Trading GmbH 

The H2CRETE Valley Project is led and coordinated by ProEuropean Trading GmbH, based in Munich, Germany. 

2.1 Company Presentation

ProEuropean Trading GmbH is a European project management company at the leading edge of innovation & technology in the green energy sector. The company is specialized on the following six key sectors:

  • Research & Innovation in Green Hydrogen Technologies.
  • Implementation of Leading Edge Technologies.
  • Installation & Delivery of Turnkey Power Station Projects
  • Project Structuring & Planning.
  • Project Finance.
  • Project Management.

The German-based company plays a key role in integrating the latest technological advances in the generation and distribution of Green Hydrogen and implementing them into power generation projects. 

ProEuropean is focused German, Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Cypriot markets.

2.2 ProEuropean Trading GmbH – Vision & Mission

  • Vision – “Our Vision is to be the most innovative and leading player in making clean energy affordable, reliable, and accessible to our partners and their regional communities”.
  • Mission – “ProEuropean Trading GmbH is dedicated to playing a leading part in the European Energy Transformation to carbon neutrality and a climate-neutral economy by 2050. We do so by driving the development, construction, and implementation of clean energy pilot projects across Europe. We focus on optimizing highly innovative deep decarbonization solutions in industrial sectors, leading to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions to an eventual goal of zero carbon emissions”.

2.3 Company Executives

ProEuropean Trading GmbH has a diverse and dedicated team. The board management has extensive experience in Management, Economics, and Finance, with a deep understanding of Green Hydrogen and Electrolyser market segments. 

  • Elena Margariti – Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Elena Margariti is Founding Partner and Chief Executive Officer of ProEuropean Trading GmbH. She is committed in Green Hydrogen production projects in Crete (Greece) and in Munich (Germany). She is specialized in corporate strategy.

Elena has 30 years’ experience in corporate taxation planning & taxation laws. Elena is former Chairman and CEO of corporate services companies in Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania. Moreover, she is former Advisor and Consultant of a number of public private partnerships in construction and defense, including Breda Ferroviarie, Augusta, Oto Melara of Efim Group, subsidiaries of the Finmeccanica Group; chiefly companies that are active in the field of land and air transportation systems and defense systems. 

Elena holds a M.Sc. in Business Administration and Human Resources Management from London School of Economics and Indianapolis University.  

  • Aikaterini Lianoudaki – Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 

Aikaterini Lianoudaki is Founding Partner of ProEuropean Trading GmbH and Chief Financial Officer. She is committed in Green Hydrogen production projects in Crete (Greece) and in Munich (Germany). She has 16 years’ experience as director and senior bank officer. Aikaterini is expert in SME funding and debt issuance for governmental pension funds in Scandinavia and Asset Management Funds in London and Rome. 

She has extensive experience in managing sustainable development projects at EU level, including drafting proposals, securing funding, and implementing the projects. 

She secured funding through Structured Finance, Guarantees-SFG, Project Bonds, Private Finance for Energy Efficiency (PF4EE), Bilateral Cooperation Program INTEREG Hellas- Cyprus. Horizon 2021-2027 and the Innovation Council. 

She holds a M.Sc. in in Project Management from National Technical University of Greece. 

  • Tilman Schultz – Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). 

Tilman Schultz is the Chief Commercial Officer of ProEuropean Trading GmbH. He has 20 years’ experience in investment banking and leading tech companies (Siemens, IBM, and Saxo Bank). Tilman is a specialist in structuring, designing, and implementing innovative client solutions for banks and tech companies. He is expert in algorithmic trading and alternative investments, with a focus on hedge funds, funds of funds, alternative investment funds, wealth managers and private banking. Running regulated Swiss Wealth Management Company. He has a M.Sc. Master in European Business from ESCP. 

  1. Crete Island Strategic Location

H2CRETE Valley Project’s objective is to build a cost-effective Green Hydrogen hub in the heart of Mediterranean Sea, turning Crete in the structural pillar of entry, transmission, and distribution of energy power from North Africa to Europe. 

The island of Crete lies in the southern part of the Aegean See. It is the largest island in Greece (8.336 km2) and the fifth in size in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Several energy interconnections projects have already announced their positioning in Cretan ground, due to the strategic standpoint of the island. The implementation of projects like GAP Interconnector, EuroAsia Interconnector, and EastMed pipeline, will guarantee direct access to low-cost energy sources.

All these projects have one thing in common: Atherinolakos as the end point of each interconnection. 

Atherinolakos is a remote and uninhabited industrial area on the south-west coast of Crete. It is also hosting the Public Power Corporation of Greece (PPC S.A.) and it has direct access existing infrastructures, TSO’s and DSO’s network & pipeline, port facilities, open sea, and desalination plants.  

For these reasons, ProEuropean Trading has designated Atherinolakos as the best location to realize the H2CRETE Valley Project. The company has already secured 66,000m2 of land in Atherinolakos area and is in negotiations for additional 130,000m2. The overall area is large enough to realize a large-scale Green Hydrogen production plant. 

The following section summarizes the main energy interconnection projects involving Atherinolakos. 

  • GAP Interconnector

The area of Atherinolakos will be the end point of the Greece – Africa Power interconnector (GAP), a submarine DC transmission link. This cable will connect Mesra Matruth (Egypt) with Atherinolakos, ensuring a direct access to one of cheapest RES worldwide. This project is expected to guarantee certificate of origin of energy and to streamline the Green Hydrogen production at competitive Levelized Cost of Hydrogen (LCOH). The GAP Interconnector is set to be listed among the European Projects of Common Interest and its overview is highlighted in the following figure.

Figure 32: GAP Interconnector – Overview

Source: ProEuropean Trading GmbH and RINA-C elaboration, 2023

  • EuroAsia Interconnector

The EuroAsia Interconnector is a leading Project of Common Interests of EU, aiming to ensure energy security by the creation of a reliable electricity corridor from Hadera (Israel) to Korakia (Crete, Greece), via Kofinou (Cyprus). The project will help the integration of RES in the region. The EuroAsia Interconnector’s overview is highlighted in the following figure.

Figure 33: EuroAsia Interconnector – Overview

Source: ProEuropean Trading GmbH
and RINA-C elaboration, 2023

  • Eastern Mediterranean (EastMed) Pipeline

The EastMed Pipeline is a planned pipeline project that will directly connect East Mediterranean energy sources to mainland Greece via Cyprus and Crete.

This project aims to provide a new and competitive gas volumes, enhance energy security of supply, and contribute to energy transition. Indeed, the EastMed is designed to be fully Hydrogen-compatible, creating a corridor towards Europe for the Hydrogen produced in this region.

The H2CRETE production site will be located at 350m from EastMed decompression station in Atherinolakos.

Figure 31: EastMed Pipeline – Overview

Source: Edison EastMed – Poseidon project, 2023

Thanks to all these initiatives, Crete and Atherinolakos area are attracting private investors and public grant funding for Green Hydrogen projects.

For instance, Atherinolakos already hosts a Horizon Europe funded Hydrogen Valleys project: the Cretan-Agean Hydrogen Valley Project (CRAVE2). The CRAVE2 objective is the development and operation of cutting-edge Hydrogen technologies. The project has a total budget of €11M, of which €8M will be financed by the European Commission and the Clean Hydrogen Partnership. EUNICE Energy Group is the coordinator and leader of the consortium composed by 7 other members from Greece, Italy, and Denmark. 

Other Hydrogen-related projects are likely to be implemented into Cretan ground. Thanks to these initiatives, Crete Island is expected to become a Green Hydrogen strategic hub. The flourishing of these projects generates favourable conditions for the creation of synergies between different players along the Hydrogen value chain, as well as job opportunities at local level. Finally, Greek Government and local authorities are setting ambitious targets and working on roadmap for domestic Green Hydrogen production, with the goal of playing a key role in future European Hydrogen corridors. Indeed, Greece is already part of the Hydrogen Corridor E – “East and South-East Europe” designed by European Hydrogen Backbone. The aim of the corridor is to provide access to low-cost Hydrogen supply to demand centres along the corridor.

Figure 34: European Hydrogen Backbone Map