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Spanish power company Iberdrola and Sweden’s H2 Green Steel are to partner and develop a major facility that will produce green hydrogen, in yet another example of how companies are taking an interest in the much talked about sector.
In an announcement on Thursday, the firms said the 2.3 billion euro ($2.6 billion) project would see them set up a green hydrogen facility with an electrolysis capacity of 1 gigawatt. Financing will come from a mixture of equity, green project financing and public funding.
The idea is that the green hydrogen from the Iberdrola and H2 Green Steel development will be utilized to generate roughly 2 million tons of direct reduced iron, or DRI, each year, which can then be used to produce steel.
The businesses said they would also “explore the opportunity to co-locate a Green Steel production facility capable of producing 2.5-5 million tons of Green flat steel annually, in conjunction with the plant.” In a statement, Aitor Moso, Iberdrola’s liberalized business director, said green hydrogen would be “a critical technology in the decarbonization of heavy industrial processes such as the production of steel.“
Environmental footprint is key
Projects such as the one being planned with H2 Green Steel would, Moso said, “help to speed-up the commercialization of larger and more sophisticated electrolyzers, making green hydrogen more competitive.”
Hopes for hydrogen, but hurdles too
Over the last few years, a number of major businesses have become involved in projects centered around green hydrogen. In November, for example, Australia-headquartered Fortescue Future Industries said it would become the U.K.’s largest supplier of green hydrogen after signing a memorandum of understanding with construction equipment firm JCB and Ryze Hydrogen. In the same month, it was announced that Norsk Hydro and oil giant Shell would look into the potential of joint projects focused on green hydrogen production.
Green hydrogen hurdles to overcome.
In October, the CEO of Siemens Energy spoke about the issues he felt were facing the sector, telling CNBC that there was “no commercial case” for it at this moment in time. In comments made at a Sustainable Future Forum, Christian Bruch outlined several areas that would need attention in order for green hydrogen to gain momentum.
“We need to define boundary conditions which make this technology and these cases commercially viable,” Bruch commented. “And we need an environment, obviously, of cheap electricity and in this regard, abundant renewable energy available to do this.” This was not there yet, he argued.
A few months earlier, in July, Enel CEO Francesco Starace said there was “no competition for capital between hydrogen and renewables.” “Hydrogen today is a niche, and it is a niche that needs to develop into commercial standard and into … big industry, competitive pricing,” Starace said, signaling that such a shift would probably take 10 years.
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