Green hydrogen is gaining momentum around the world

gHydrogen reen operations are growing even further as governments pour millions into the development of the sector. While the increase in green hydrogen production across Europe has been well documented, some European countries are investing even more heavily in the industry, while other projects are springing up in more unexpected regions, such as the Latin America and Africa. With several governments and major energy companies supporting the development of green hydrogen, it is likely to become a major renewable energy source worldwide.

Green hydrogen has been hailed as a major new clean energy source with the potential to replace natural gas, as well as being used in hydrogen vehicles – competing with batteries in electric cars. Although the cost of producing green hydrogen is much higher than that of alternative renewables, experts expect greater investment in research and development, as well as the expansion of hydrogen plants. hydrogen, make the technology much cheaper and more efficient over time, in the same way. as seen in the solar and wind energy sectors.

Green hydrogen is produced from renewable electricity to power an electrolyzer and then splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The gas is then burned to produce energy and emits only water vapor and hot air, making it carbon-free. This contrasts with the production of gray hydrogen, which is fueled by natural gas.

Europe and the Middle East have already significantly expanded their positions in the green hydrogen market following major investments in the industry. The two regions are battling for the top spot as global demand for the renewable energy source increases. In Europe, we are seeing even more investment in the sector than initially expected, with Spain announcing a €50 million green hydrogen plant in Puertollano and the UK promoting a €150 million plant. pounds sterling at the Port of Felixstowe.

This month ScottishPower announced plans to build a major green hydrogen facility in Felixstowe, southern England, to power trains, trucks and ships. The plant is expected to produce 100MW of energy, to power around 1,300 hydrogen trucks from 2026. The project comes as UK petrol and diesel prices are soaring, leading to an increase in demand for alternatives. The company expects to receive financial support from the UK’s Net Zero Hydrogen Fund for the project, which could cost between $122 million and $183 million.

But now projects are popping up in more unexpected places. Countries in Africa and Latin America have announced investments in green hydrogen this year, as emerging powers strive to position themselves in the global hydrogen market. With the global hydrogen market expected to reach $1 trillion per year by 2050, everyone wants a piece of the action.

An unexpected place that is developing its green hydrogen capabilities is Brazil. This week, the National Clean Energy Institute (INEL) in Brazil announced the creation of a new Green Hydrogen Secretariat (SHV). SHV director Luiz Piauhylino Filho hopes to support Brazil’s clean, low-cost energy sector through the development of the country’s green hydrogen operations.

Earlier this year, Brazilian chemical company Unigel began construction of the country’s first green hydrogen plant in Bahia, northeast Brazil, at a cost of $120 million. It is expected to be the largest integrated green hydrogen and ammonia plant in the world when completed. Unigel hopes to achieve production of 10,000 tonnes per year of green hydrogen and 60,000 tonnes per year of green ammonia with operations starting in 2023.

Chile is another South American giant looking to break into the renewable hydrogen market. The country is already well known for its green energy production, which makes it well suited for the production of green hydrogen. The government has already announced a target of 5 GW of installed electrolysis capacity by 2025 and aims to produce the most cost-effective green hydrogen by the end of the decade. As the demand for green hydrogen begins to rise in Europe and Asia, this is encouraging several Latin American countries to start developing their hydrogen capabilities to outpace the competition in the region as the industry expands.

Besides Latin America, interest in the green hydrogen industry is also growing in the African region. Last year, the Namibian government announced its goal of exporting three million tonnes a year of green hydrogen to Europe with investments coming from its post-pandemic economic recovery programme. Namibia hopes to produce one of the cheapest green hydrogens in the world at $1.55 to $2.07 per kilogram.

However, Namibia’s green hydrogen industry is still in its infancy, with limited access to electricity for much of the country’s population. But Namibia’s significant wind and solar resource development potential, coupled with large tracts of uninhabited state-owned land, makes the country very attractive for the development of a large renewable energy sector, which is likely to include l green hydrogen.

As green power operations continue to expand in regions with existing generation capabilities, we are increasingly seeing new developments popping up in unexpected parts of the world. Several countries in Latin America and Africa have shown interest in developing their green hydrogen industries as demand for the renewable energy source continues to grow in Europe and Asia.

By Felicity Bradstock for

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