Asturias, a region in northern Spain, is set to take a significant leap towards a greener, more sustainable future. Backed by funding primarily from European sources, the regional government is financing three ambitious consortia-led projects, spearheaded by industrial giants ArcelorMittal, Atox Sistemas de Almacenaje, and Intocast Ibérica.
The three consortia, comprising 15 companies and institutions, have secured a substantial grant of nearly 5.3 million euros from a mix of European funds. These financial injections will help catalyze projects that span the spectrum of industrial applications, from refractory brick manufacturing to advanced combustion systems. Here’s a closer look at these visionary projects:
Led by global steel giant ArcelorMittal, the H2Asturias project is the star of the show. It secured the largest share of funding at 4.7 million euros. This public-private partnership features a powerhouse of scientific and technological companies and institutions including Idesa, Iturcemi, Magna Dea, and the University of Oviedo.
The focus of this project is clear: to create a pilot plant that will serve as a testing ground for the use of renewable hydrogen in industrial processes. Researchers from the consortium will investigate the value chain of hydrogen in an industrial context, studying its compatibility with various gases in sectors such as chemicals and steel. The project aims to generate knowledge about storage, transportation, and potential industrial applications of this renewable energy source.
H2Asturias is poised to deliver a unique scientific facility to the Principality of Asturias, one that’s open to research activities by entities not only in the region but also at the national and European levels. The facility will be located near the ArcelorMittal gas laboratory (GasLab) in Gijón, providing easy access to real process gases necessary for hydrogen enrichment.
Atox Storage Systems is teaming up with Industrial Development Tactics and researchers from the University of Oviedo for the CMIX-H2 project. Their mission? To develop a mixed combustion system for industrial drying processes that relies heavily on renewable hydrogen.
This innovative project will explore various methods of integrating burners based on the combustion of green hydrogen produced from solar energy. An alkaline electrolyzer will generate the hydrogen, while the electrical energy produced will be used for this purpose.
The consortium aims to reduce the carbon footprint not only during hydrogen generation but also in traditional combustion processes. A pilot plant at Atox’s Gijón facilities will provide a platform for testing and experimentation.
In yet another pioneering move, Intocast Ibérica is leading a consortium in the Green Firebrick project, joined by EdP Spain and the University of Oviedo. Their objective is to develop a pilot tunnel kiln for firing refractory bricks using green hydrogen as fuel.
This groundbreaking initiative will be the first to examine the effects of integrating hydrogen as a fuel in a refractory tunnel oven under real operating conditions. The project, set to take place at Intocast’s plant in Lugones, seeks to position Asturias as an active industrial region in alignment with the goals of the European Green Deal. Moreover, it aims to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen as an industrial fuel, potentially replacing or complementing natural gas. Importantly, the consortium will make the pilot oven available to other Asturian plants.
These projects, collectively funded with nearly 5.3 million euros, underscore Asturias’ commitment to being a pioneer in the green hydrogen revolution. By fostering research, innovation, and practical applications, the region is taking significant steps towards becoming a hub of hydrogen excellence.
While challenges lie ahead, including the need for effective integration of hydrogen into industrial processes, these projects represent a bold stride towards a greener, more sustainable future for the Principality. As Asturias races ahead in embracing green hydrogen, the world is watching with great anticipation.