Hydrogen Today attended the first panel of the second day, which focused on “Progress in green hydrogen projects in Chile.” The discussion was moderated by José Fuster Justiniano.
EDF Renewables Chile’s progress in hydrogen
The first speaker was Álvaro Valladares, Director of New Markets at EDF Renewables Chile. He informed us that EDF Renewable Chile already has a 146 MW photovoltaic plant in the Antofagasta region and another of 115 MW in the metropolitan region. The group’s objective is to develop 3 GW of hydrogen projects using electrolysis throughout the world. They already supply green hydrogen in Auxerre (France) and e-fuels in Germany. He also mentioned other projects in the United Kingdom and the United States. The aim, he said, is to succeed in bringing back to Chile the expertise acquired abroad.
Green hydrogen: an emerging market with a promising future
Luis Sarrás, Green Hydrogen Managing Director at AES Corporation, reminds us that hydrogen is still an emerging market. He says that all the studies agree on the fact that, in the near future, Chile will be the most competitive producer in the world. In his opinion, there are 3 major areas in which Chile needs to focus if the country wants to reach the top of the podium. First, regulations need to be unblocked. Second, the private sector needs to coordinate. And finally, education must not be neglected since it is vital to win public support.
Then, he points out that the United States is very competitive at the moment, thanks in particular to subsidies amounting to 4 to 5 USD per kilo of hydrogen. This is a curb to Chile’s competitiveness as a future exporter since demand must also come from outside the country. Indeed, Chilean demand alone will not meet the government’s export targets. For information, Chile’s national hydrogen strategy forecasts that the export market of hydrogen will represent 19 billion dollars by 2050.
Asunción Borrás, Head of Business Development at H2 Engie and Vice-President of H2 Chile, then took the floor. She spoke about the complexity of developing project, particularly in terms of scaling up, which represents a considerable challenge. Asunción Borrás stressed that demand is paramount so that projects can be developed in line with the government’s ambitions. She concludes by pointing out that the country has significant renewable resources and benefits from strong government support. In other words, Chile has, in theory, what it takes to become a leading exporter. But according to her, achieving this requires to put theory into practice. “We have the fundamentals, but we mustn’t lose our way,” she concludes.
Next up was Juan Pablo Fiedler, Head of Green Hydrogen at Colbun S.A. The company has 27 power plants in Chile and Peru with an installed capacity of 4 GW. In particular, he mentions massive ammonia production projects ranging from 500,000 to 1 million tonnes of ammonia per year (in Antofagasta).
Hydrogen: a tool for opening up regions
Nicola Borregaard, Managing Director of EBP Chile, insists on the opportunity that hydrogen offers for opening up regions. She said that in the Magallanes region, some areas have been completely abandoned. Hydrogen could therefore be the link between bringing back skills to these remote forsaken areas, attract skilled workers and professionals and develop inter-municipal transport.