The Hydrogen Stream: work begins on Chile’s first green hydrogen project and French energy giants target decarbonized hydrogen


French industrial gas provider Air Liquide and energy business TotalEnergies have teamed up to decarbonize hydrogen production at the latter's Normandy facility in France. “This project will enable … the supply to TotalEnergies by Air Liquide of low-carbon hydrogen by relying on Air Liquide's hydrogen network in Normandy and the implementation of a large-scale CO2 capture and storage solution (CCS),” read a statement released today. Air Liquide said it will take over and operate the 255-tons-per-day TotalEnergies hydrogen production unit in Normandy under a long-term contract. “Connecting the unit to Air Liquide’s hydrogen network will enable [it] to optimize its performance and, ultimately, develop the world’s first low-carbon hydrogen network,” added today's press release. The French companies said they will carry out development studies for a CCS project in Normandy. Air Liquide will capture CO2 and TotalEnergies is expected to transport and store it at two North Sea CCS projects under development: the Northern Lights facility, in Norwegian waters, and the Aramis project, in waters owned by the Netherlands.

Enel Green Power Chile, AME, Siemens Energy, Porsche, Enap and Exxon Mobile joined a ceremony to mark the start of construction of Chile's first green hydrogen plant, in the Magallanes region. Electrolysis will take place in Cabo Negro, north of Punta Arenas. “This plant will produce green hydrogen through the process of electrolysis, powered directly by a wind turbine, which captures energy from the abundant wind in the area,” said Enel on Friday. “This will be the first plant of its kind in the country and one of the largest in the region.” The pilot project is expected to be operational in the second quarter of next year. The Chilean investment is Enel Green Power's first green hydrogen production project. The Chilean government wants 5 GW of electrolyzer capacity by 2025 and 25 GW by 2030 and the 1.25 MW electrolyzer used in the pilot facility will be powered by a 3.4 MW wind turbine. Siemens Energy said the plant, in Chilean Patagonia, is expected to produce around 130,000 liters of efuel next year. “The capacity will then be expanded in two stages to around 55 million liters by 2024, and to around 550 million liters by 2026,” stated a a press release issued by the German energy company. Hydrogen from the project is expected to be used by Porsche.

The Indian government invited U.S. companies to bid for green hydrogen and electrolyzer contracts, during a meeting between U.S. special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry and India’s renewable energy minister, R K Singh. The latter “mentioned that huge bids for green hydrogen and electrolyzers are planned in the upcoming months,” read an official statement about the meeting. “Mr Singh requested the U.S. side to send their companies to participate in the bids. He also highlighted India’s upcoming projects in [the union territory of] Ladakh, on green hydrogen and green energy corridors.” The United States and India also launched the ‘climate action and finance mobilization dialogue,' one of the two pillars of the U.S.-India agenda 2030 partnership, which U.S. president Joe Biden and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced at the leaders' summit on climate, in April.

U.S.-based turnkey hydrogen solutions company Plug Power is opening a European headquarters in North Rhine-Westphalia, in Germany. Plug Power chief executive Andy Marsh and Andreas Pinkwart, minister of economics, innovation, digitization and energy for North Rhine-Westphalia, met in Washington DC this week to discuss details and make the announcement. “The initial, 70,000 square foot facility will house an innovation center with engineering labs and technical support; a monitoring, diagnostics and technical support center; a green hydrogen generator with … electrolyzer infrastructure on site; a shipping, inventor[y] and logistics center; and a training space,” said Plug Power in a press release today. “The expansion to Europe will allow Plug to serve new and existing customers while building relevant partnerships with leaders in hydrogen application.” The European base is a part of Plug’s strategy to bank on an expected increase in demand for green hydrogen. “Plug expects to produce more than 500 tons of green hydrogen per day by 2025,” said the company. Around 30 employees will work at the facility, which will open at the start of next year. By mid-2022, the workforce will increase to almost 60 employees.

U.S.-based hydrogen-powered heavy truck company Hyzon Motors has received an order for five, 154-ton trucks from Ark Energy Corporation, the Australian subsidiary of the world’s largest zinc, lead, and silver producer, Korea Zinc. “Under the order, Hyzon is obligated to deliver the zero-emission vehicles to Ark Energy by the end of 2022,” said Hyzon today. “Ark Energy will lease the trucks to its sister company, Townsville Logistics, which will deploy them in triple (three-trailer) road-train configurations as part of their short-haul fleet, operating on a 30km loop from the Port of Townsville to the Sun Metals zinc refinery owned by the group.” The fuel cell trucks, which will replace diesel vehicles, will be assembled in Australia.

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U.K. green hydrogen company Protium is expanding its hydrogen personnel with a new board member and two advisory appointments. “The new appointments also coincide with the completion of its latest funding round to support the firm’s growth trajectory and commercialization strategy, allowing the team to accelerate client projects into full scale development,” read a statement by the British company. The material cash contribution could accelerate Protium’s pipeline – the capital expenditure of which already totals more than £1 billion (€1.17 billion) for projects across a variety of industries. Over the last three months, the company has announced its expansion into Scotland and Wales.

HyDeploy, the first project in the U.K. to blend hydrogen into a natural gas network, was hailed a success in a report last week after gas safety checks were carried out in homes and buildings in the trial area. Laboratory tests were also carried out on a range of gas appliances. “HyDeploy is a ground-breaking collaboration and has demonstrated very clearly that consumers can safely receive up to 20% hydrogen blended with natural gas without the need to make any changes to their existing appliances,” said Steve Fraser, chief executive of energy distributor Cadent.

Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power has reported a 6% decrease in revenue and project grant funding, despite a 30% increase in sales revenue, while also increasing its contracts backlog 44%. Commenting on figures for the last fiscal year, CEO Graham Cooley said: “2021 has been another transformational year for ITM Power. We attracted a strategic investor, in Snam S.p.A. and, through our fund rais[ing] in October 2020, developed a platform to deliver to market our next-generation product, the 5 MW Gigastack, two years earlier than previously planned.” ITM intends to focus on the production of electrolysis equipment for large scale systems. The ITM Power share price fell, however, after the earnings report.

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