GCL shifts emphasis to green hydrogen as gas supply deal falls through


Chinese solar project developer GCL New Energy appears to have had a rethink over its plans to use natural gas to fire hydrogen production in Africa.

Having announced a plan to pivot away from solar park development and into hydrogen, the company – part of polysilicon manufacturer GCL-Poly – on Sunday announced a plan to buy gas from a connected GCL business, to fire hydrogen in Djibouti, had fallen through.

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GCL New Energy told the Hong Kong Stock Exchange plans to pay a US$30 million deposit to Poly-GCL Petroleum to secure an exclusive 12-month deal for the former to buy natural gas from the latter had expired on Friday because the necessary conditions for the deal had not been secured.

The solar developer, which had stated in December the natural gas produced by Poly-GCL Petroleum in Ethiopia would be used to produce hydrogen at a planned plant in Djibouti, on Sunday announced: “Given the main application areas and market prospect of hydrogen energy, GNE Group [GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd] will focus on (including but not limited to) hydrogen production with green power.”

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GCL New Energy did not state which of the conditions necessary for the gas supply arrangement had not been achieved but it had previously reported one of them – support from investors into a senior note that the proceeds be used for the gas-fired hydrogen deal – had been secured.

The company had said in December that the conditions necessary for the gas supply also included GCL New Energy completing legal due diligence on Poly-GCL Petroleum; technical due diligence on the supply and transfer of the gas to the planned facility in Djibouti; and shareholder and regulatory approval of the arrangement.

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