Chile in search of projects to optimize the production of green hydrogen


The Chilean Ministry of Science and Technology has launched a call for projects to optimize the production of green hydrogen.

Officials are looking for proposals that aim to overcome the challenges associated with efficiently coupling an off-grid solar PV plant with an electrolyser unit.

A grant pot of 298 million pesos (US$329,000) has been established to fund the work.

“Optimizing the efficiency of this energy conversion process, particularly in isolated or remote areas, where there is no backup of an electricity distribution network, will promote a reduction in the required energy and production costs of hydrogen, allowing greater efficiency in the off-grid [green hydrogen] applications,” the ministry said in a statement.

The northern regions of Chile have world-class solar resources, but one of the main disadvantages of solar photovoltaic is its intermittency.

The ministry plans a three-phase program, where the number of grant recipients decreases and funding increases gradually.

Officials estimate that five projects will share a pot of 38 million pesos in the first phase, which will last six months and involve computer modeling to validate a prototype.

Two will move on to the second, involving 100mn of financing pesos and lasting 14 months, during which time a physical prototype will be validated.

The finalist will receive 160mn of pesos for a 16-month project where the solution is used to couple a solar power plant with an electrolyser.

Parties can submit their projects until July 14, 2022.

The Ministry created the program in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, the National Energy Commission CNE, the National R&D Agency, the Government Laboratory, the H2 Chile Hydrogen Industry Chamber, the Swiss technology services provider ABB and TRA, a Chilean engineering company focused on green hydrogen, water treatment and waste recovery solutions.

Chile has published a national green hydrogen strategy and, in parallel, aims to become carbon neutral by 2050, which would require a massive development of renewable energies as well as the deployment of clean fuels such as hydrogen derivatives. hydrogen and the electrification of certain sectors.

Under this strategy, the country aims to develop 5 GW of smelting capacity by 2025, achieve the lowest production costs in the world by 2030 and, by 2040, become the one of the world’s top three exporters of green hydrogen.

Projects for both the domestic market and for export are on the drawing board and construction work has already started on a pilot project in the windswept south of the country.

Elsewhere on the green hydrogen map, state development agency Corfo recently signed contracts to jointly fund the first industrial green hydrogen projects in the country. The contracts, worth a total of around $20 million, relate to plants planned by natural gas player LNG Quintero, steel company CAP and industrial gases company Air Liquide. The Corfo funds will be used to purchase electrolysers.

All three plants are expected to be commissioned towards the end of 2025.

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