The Hydrogen Stream: Europe’s largest green hydrogen project takes shape



HyDeal Spain will be the first industrial implementation of the HyDeal Ambition platform announced in 2021, supplying renewable hydrogen for the production of green steel, green ammonia, and green fertilizers. Recently, IRENA ranked the project as the largest giga-scale renewable hydrogen project globally. Anchor sponsors include international steel manufacturing corporation ArcelorMittal, Spanish gas transmission system operator Enagás, Spain’s chemical group Fertiberia and Madrid-based hydrogen company DH2 Energy. Production is planned to start in 2025; the total installed capacity is expected to reach 9.5 GW of solar power and 7.4 GW of electrolyzers by 2030. ArcelorMittal and Grupo Fertiberia plan to purchase 6.6 million tons of renewable hydrogen over 20 years to produce steel, ammonia, and fertilizers. “HyDeal España is the first concrete implementation of the €1.5/kg green hydrogen system announced in February 2021,” commented Thierry Lepercq, chairman of the joint venture and spokesperson for HyDeal Ambition, adding that green hydrogen can now compete with coal, oil and natural gas in both costs and volumes. Spanish authorities have repeatedly said that the European Union should try to avoid importing green hydrogen in the future, giving priority to local production.

Scientists from the University of Tsukuba in Japan presented a new technique for detecting when a hydrogen fuel cell is experiencing reduced efficiency due to periods of excess or insufficient water. “By using sensors that measure magnetic flux density, the amount of current generated can be monitored noninvasively, which can signal a problem. This work may lead to technology that can improve the reliability of fuel cells, while also significantly reducing the carbon footprint of cars,” reads the press release written by the university, which explains that the research particularly targeted PEM fuel cells. The team tested their system with an air-cooled 50 W PEMFC stack consisting of five fuel cells. The magnetic flux density was measured using sensors that were placed inside cooling holes. The team published their work in the specialized journal Fuel Cells.

India wants to produce 5 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030, the government said on Thursday, proposing the creation of manufacturing zones for green hydrogen and ammonia. The Indian ministry of power explained that national institutions should grant a waiver of inter-state transmission charges for 25 years to the green hydrogen and green ammonia projects commissioned before June 2025. In its 12-point green hydrogen policy communication, the ministry also said that green hydrogen facilities shall be granted priority connection to electric grids. The government is expected to announce more details of its strategy in the next months. Meanwhile, India’s Reliance Industries announced a blue hydrogen project in Gujarat. The conglomerate is owned by Mukesh Ambani.

Brazil defined its first environmental licenses for green hydrogen generation earlier this month, establishing procedures, criteria, and parameters. The development was brought forward by the State Council of Ceará (Coema). The 277.35 MWp Morada do Sol – Usina de Geração de Energia Solar Photovoltaic Complex project was also approved. It will be located in the city of Aquiraz, and is being promoted by a company of the same name, of which no further details were provided.

European aerospace corporation Airbus, Italy’s gas transmission system operator Snam and the operator of Venice’s airport, SAVE, have signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the use of hydrogen as a sustainable energy carrier in the airport and air transport sectors. “The engineering and design studies under the agreement will include the technological infrastructure needed to refuel both aircraft and airport vehicles with hydrogen,” the three companies wrote on Tuesday. In an interview with CNBC, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury underlined the importance of decarbonizing the aviation sector “at the right pace” and described hydrogen planes as the “ultimate solution.”

Italy’s Ministry of Ecological Transition is expected to soon sign a program agreement with the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) for research and development activities on hydrogen. The agreement provides for a maximum contribution of €110 million through European funds.

Vancouver-based First Hydrogen entered into a research and collaboration agreement for an initial five-year period with the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The collaboration will focus on the joint development of hydrogen-related technologies with a particular focus on the automotive industry, hydrogen production, and fuel distribution industries. “The initial project which First Hydrogen will be developing with the university is an AI software learning tool to harvest user and supplier information related to hydrogen usage to better inform hydrogen business cases and help direct the significant investments into hydrogen mobility and related infrastructure,” wrote First Hydrogen on Wednesday. 

US-based technology developer ZoneFlow Reactor Technologies has been granted a US patent for its Bayonet Reactor. “The reactor's innovative design promises to drive down the cost of hydrogen production significantly, further strengthening the resource's viability as an alternative for fossil fuel use,” the company wrote on Wednesday. The technology includes the use of excess heat in syngas (a mixture of heated hydrogen and other byproducts) to create more hydrogen. “Recirculating syngas through the Bayonet Reactor transfers the heat in the syngas to the cooler reactant gases entering the reactor, contributing 15% – 20% of the heat required for hydrogen production.” The Connecticut-based company expects to test the commercial version in 2022 in collaboration with Illinois-based engineering company Honeywell UOP.

Austrian energy company Energie Steiermark will utilize a PEM Electrolyser ME450/1400 from H-tec Systems to generate green hydrogen, directly used for vehicles or fed into the grid. The company expects the electrolyzer to go into operation as early as mid-2022. The green hydrogen will also be used in the region’s industry. For instance, a mining company from the Austrian region of Styria will be supplied with up to 70 tons of hydrogen annually from the plant.

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