The race for the lead in hydrogen technology is accelerating in the Basque Country
Competition between large companies is intensifying in the Basque Country, with the aim of developing an ecosystem around the hydrogen and lead in projects and initiatives. Repsol-Petronor and Iberdrola present initiatives with multiple projects and investments that will propel Basque industry and generate an ecosystem and a technological hub on H2.
Green hydrogen has strong potential as an energy vector for industrial processes and heavy transport, mainly. Also, he was identified as a key solution for the decarbonization of the economy and the development of innovative industrial sectors with high added value.
For these reasons, companies like Repsol, through its The Basque company Petronor, and Iberdrola are deploying their strategies aimed at strengthening their position in this technology of the future.
The first movement in this regard occurred after the exit of the first wave of the pandemic, in June 2020, with the announcement by Repsol of a macro project in the port of Bilbao: the construction of one of the most largest fuel production plants in the world net zero carbon dioxide emissions of carbon and green hydrogen, generated with renewable energies, and another gas production plant from urban waste. Three months later, they obtained the land to start carrying out these projects.
The next step came in February 2021, with the presentation of the BH2C Hydrogen Corridor, the call to be the Basque “hub” managed by Repsol and Petronor. A commitment to hydrogen as the fuel of the future and a technological vector for the decarbonization of industry in sectors such as energy, mobility, industry and services. A total of 78 organizations, including companies, institutions and technology centers, have signed up.
According to BH2C, investments worth 1,500 million euros will be mobilized until 2026 and will generate 1,340 direct jobs and 6,700 indirect jobs, more than 8,000 jobs that will be vital for the economic recovery of the Basque Country. The investments will be divided into three main areas: the production of green hydrogen, with an installed capacity of 112 MW; technological and industrial development throughout the value chain and digitization; and researching hydrogen applications in mobility, the residential sector and industry.
Two months later, Iberdrola presented its project. The electricity company promotes the ‘Basque Y of Green Hydrogen’ initiative, a corridor that includes the construction of three hydrogen plants in the logistics centers of Vitoria, Bilbao and Pasajes (San Sebastián) with the aim of promoting the decarbonization of heavy land transport, buses and light industrial vehicles, as well as the region’s port and airport uses and the chemical industry.
The Basque “Y” for hydrogen envisages the construction of three hydroelectric power plants
The initiative represents an investment of more than 37 million euros and includes the construction of 10 MW of electrolysers for a total production of 4,000 kg/day of green hydrogen, as well as on-site photovoltaic power plants for self-consumption . This, together with the renewable energy supplied by Iberdrola, would allow these facilities to supply 100% renewable and emission-free energy.
Local suppliers involved
The project will generation of 1,700 jobs direct and indirect during its construction and operation, as well as the contracting of services and purchases from more than thirty local suppliers involved.
Iberdrola is also considering the incorporation of energy storage equipment, in the form of smart batteries, to accumulate surplus photovoltaic production, in order to inject it into the grid or allocate it to the production of hydrogen at optimal times.
The project is also complementary to those presented by Iberdrola in Zaragoza and the Mediterranean Corridor, as well as the one being developed in the free zone of Barcelona, where it has installed a hydroelectric generator that will operate for ten years for Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona. the buses. (TMB) and other fleets and industries in the polygon.
The Basque “Y” for Hydrogen is a project presented at Next Generation EU, which has the institutional support of the Basque Government and the Provincial Councils of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, the City Hall of Vitoria, as well as the Ports of Bilbao and Tickets. Likewise, around twenty companies support the initiative. This project joins the 175 presented by Iberdrola to European funds. They highlight 53 hydrogen-related initiatives that would activate investments of 2,500 million to reach an annual production of 60,000 tons/year.
30-40% next generation
For its part, the Basque hydrogen corridor hopes that between 30 and 40% of its investments, approximately 1,500 million euros until 2026, are covered by European Next Generation funds (between 450 and 600 million). At present, it has begun to develop 41 projects, in which 200 million will be invested this year.
One of the investments is the Abanto Technology Park project in Biscay, which will come into operation in early 2023 and includes a 2.5 MW electrolyser, hydroelectric generator, hydroelectric pipeline and mobility park.
The Abanto project includes a 2.5 MW electrolyser, a hydroelectric generator and a mobility park
Charging of slow-charging buses is also planned. The project will involve an investment of 32 million euros and the collaboration of Petronor, Nortegas, Repsol and the Basque energy entity EVE). It is expected that in a year there will be production, distribution and distribution so that this mobility will have the possibility of having hydrogen plants, both in the Abanto park, as well as others in Gipuzkoa and Alava.
Petronor, EVE and Enagas will also install a 10 MW electrolyzer in the port of Bilbao, to early 2024, the production of which will be intended for the synthetic fuels plant (efuels). A third installation, planned at the Petronor refinery for 2025, will have an electrolyser capable of reaching 100 MW. to cope with its decarbonization process and the consumption of steel from factories such as Celsa, Nervacero or Arcelor.
For its part, Nortegas is working on projects such as H2Sarea or the one planned in Boroa (Amorebieta), where, together with other partners, they plan to generate green hydrogen with an electrolyzer in different operating phases.
CAF and Talgo trains
Iberdrola and Petronor are also involved in hydrogen train projects and have allied with CAF and Talgo respectively. CAF and Iberdrola want to offer complete sustainable mobility solutions and tests should begin in April for the train developed by CAF in Zaragoza, which will be powered by green hydrogen from the Iberdrola plant in Barcelona.
For their part, Talgo, Petronor and the Provincial Council of Álava will collaborate in the industrial and technological development around green hydrogen. Petronor will develop the infrastructure for the supply of renewable hydrogen that can supply industry. Talgo will carry out the “Vittal One” train project, a regional suburban hydrogen-powered train, at its Ribabellosa plant.