The Hydrogen Stream: Chile plans 6 green hydrogen projects by 2025


Chilean development agency Corfo has selected six hydrogen projects with a cumulative electrolyzer capacity of 396MW for development, which will be financed by public subsidies totaling US$50 million. According to Chilean articles shared by Corfo, the companies will be supported once they install the committed electrolyzer capacity. The companies are Enel Green Power (US$16.9 million for 240MW of electrolyzer capacity), Air Liquide (US$11.7 million for 80MW), Engie (US$9.5 million for 26MW), GNL Quintero (US$5.7 million for 10MW), CAP (US$3.6 million for 20MW), and Linde (US$2.4 million for 20MW).  The selected proposals are expected to attract investments of US$1 billion and produce more than 45,000 tons of green hydrogen per year. The Chilean government, which accepted 50% of the proposed projects, aims to have the six green hydrogen projects up and running by 2025.

Spain launched its first hydrogen mobility program, with renewable giant Iberdrola producing green hydrogen for commercial use for the first time in the country. “This week the first of eight state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell buses built by CaetanoBus arrived at a Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) depot. At the same time, Iberdrola has already begun to produce green hydrogen at its Zona Franca facility, where these city buses will soon be supplied,” Iberdrola wrote last week. After a period of testing without passengers, the vehicles will enter service in 2022. “The start-up of the Zona Franca hydrogen plant, which has been completed in less than a year, will enable the creation of a green hydrogen hub in one of the country's most important industrial areas.”

Romania's gas TSO Transgaz has called for an extraordinary meeting of shareholders on Jan. 25 to endorse the company’s plans to make investments in hydrogen, including joining the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) group. “Being part of the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative can create new business development opportunities both nationally and internationally,” wrote the company in mid-December. Transgaz also wants to team up with the Investment Fund of the Three Seas Initiative (I3M) to set up a company investing in hydrogen-ready and low-carbon infrastructure projects. The Three Seas Initiative (3SI or TSI) is a forum of 12 states, in the European Union. Transgaz should have 51% of the shares of the new company. This was not the only hydrogen development in the country. Romania Insider, an online magazine, reports that state-controlled electricity producer Hidroelectrica is pondering green hydrogen production on an island in the Danube.

Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries announced that its liquefied hydrogen carrier, Suiso Frontier, has departed from Kobe for Australia. It is set to return in February with what is expected to be the world’s first international liquefied hydrogen delivery. The carrier, which can transport 75 tons of liquefied hydrogen in one trip, was certified earlier this year. In Suiso Frontier, the hydrogen is cooled to –253°C, shrinking to 1/800 of its original gas-state volume. According to Reuters, the AU$500 million (US$362 million, €320 million) pilot project was originally scheduled to ship its first cargo of hydrogen extracted from brown coal in Australia in spring 2021 but had reportedly been delayed because of the pandemic. The project is backed by the Japanese and Australian governments. Australia’s AGL, which is supplying brown coal, is working with several companies, including Fortescue Future Industries to explore the option of repurposing coal-fired power stations in Australia to generate 100% renewable green hydrogen.

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A research team studying the potential of nanoparticles to store hydrogen published its findings in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal ACS Nano, wrote German accelerator center DESY on Monday. “A team led by DESY’s Andreas Stierle has laid the foundations for an alternative method: storing hydrogen in tiny nanoparticles made of the precious metal palladium, just 1.2 nanometres in diameter,” reads the press release. Palladium can absorb hydrogen like a sponge, but the release has so far posed problems. The researchers are trying to overcome the issue, resorting to smaller palladium particles. “To ensure that the tiny particles are sufficiently sturdy, they are stabilised by a core made of the rare precious metal iridium. In addition, they are attached to a graphene support, an extremely thin layer of carbon… This results in a regular, periodic structure.” According to the findings, the hydrogen sticks to the nanoparticles' surfaces. “The nanoparticles can be pictured as resembling chocolates: an iridium nut at the centre, enveloped in a layer of palladium, rather than marzipan, and chocolate-coated on the outside by the hydrogen. All it takes to recover the stored hydrogen is for a small amount of heat to be added; the hydrogen is rapidly released from the surface of the particles, because the gas molecules don’t have to push their way out from inside the cluster.” The team includes researchers from the Universities of Cologne and Hamburg.

Rederi AB Gotland, Sweden’s oldest passenger shipping company, is participating in a new research project led by researchers from Uppsala University to develop and secure sustainable solutions for hydrogen in ferry traffic. “The project aims to present a complete, sustainable and reliable system for fossil-free hydrogen to be implemented by 2030 and will thus study the entire supply chain from electricity production to propeller,” the company wrote last week. The project will also investigate the possibility of using oxygen, a by-product, to oxygenate the seabed. The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded a two-year grant of more than SEK 3 million (€0.29 million) to the project. OX2, Linde Gas, Uniper, and Bassoe Technology are also participating. On Dec. 16, Rederi AB Gotland launched its ship concept for future Gotland traffic. It should be Sweden's first large-scale hydrogen-powered vessel for both passengers and cargo. Using gas turbines in combination with steam turbines, the vessel should continue operations with the same speed as today. “In addition, the multi-fuel function of the gas turbines prepares them to handle other types of fossil-free fuels as technology develops and different fuels become available,” wrote the Swedish company earlier this month.

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