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In light of current global affairs, the transition to renewable energy has been accelerated – especially the green hydrogen transition. In recent months many parts of the world have cut ties with Russia, which has previously been a leading source of energy across the globe. With this change comes the need to find new sources of power. Many countries in Europe have committed to achieving ambitious carbon reduction targets in coming decades, and green hydrogen is becoming the key for this transition.
Green hydrogen (H2) is hydrogen produced through renewable means. Usually, the method switches natural gas in the production process, to wind and solar in order to produce energy. Hydrogen is already being utilised across many carbon heavy industries, including steel, shipping, and chemicals. Hydrogen itself is not damaging our planet, but the process to attain it for industrial use is. Grey, blue, brown, and turquoise hydrogen all utilise methane or coal in the production, and go through a process of SMR, gasification, or pyrolysis. In contrast, green hydrogen exclusively uses renewable energy and an electrolysis process.
Once processed, hydrogen is then used for power generation, synthetic fuels, vehicle energy, metal refining, heating, and ammonia. Ammonia is a further development on the hydrogen process which creates a gas compound of nitrogen and hydrogen. Ammonia is then used across the globe for fertiliser production, plastics, explosives, wastewater treatment, materials, and pharmaceuticals.
Earlier this year a RePowerEU plan was announced to support the transition away from Russian fossil fuels. The aim is to develop current plans with the goal to utilise 20 million tonnes of H2 by 2030, previously 5 million tonnes.
There is the capacity to generate 10 million tonnes locally, but the additional 10 million tonnes will be sourced from further afield. There are already many countries paving the way for green hydrogen production and export, including Chile, China, and Australia.
Research shows that investment in H2 will surpass $ 1 billion a year by 2023. By 2050, 25% of the world’s energy demand could be sourced from green hydrogen, making it a $10 trillion market. However, for this to happen the cost of green hydrogen needs to drop. At present it is too expensive for most sectors to broadly adopt. As we have seen with solar power production, the more demand there is for the technology, the cheaper the product will become.
Following our success with solar projects, we are diversifying into green hydrogen and green ammonia production. We have a strong pipeline of almost 40 H2 projects across the globe.
In Spain we have 23 green hydrogen projects in development or in our pipeline. The developments are spread across the country and include a range of solar and wind technology to produce the power for the electrolysis processing. In total the H2 pipeline is Spain is almost 10 GW! We are also working with Portuguese company, Fusion Fuel, to utilise their exclusive and pioneering electrolysis technology in the country. In Turkey we are also in the process of securing seven solar and green hydrogen plants, creating a total of almost 2 GW H2 production.
We are also developing the world’s largest green ammonia plant in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Alongside Linde we will be constructing a $4.6bn green ammonia plant, designed with its own dedicated power supply.