Eletrobras, a key player in Brazil’s energy landscape, is embarking on a groundbreaking journey into the realm of green hydrogen. With an eye on commercial-scale production, the company sees green hydrogen as a catalyst for Brazil’s synthetic fuel market, potentially revolutionizing energy consumption in the country and opening doors to international exports of eco-friendly e-methanol.
During a recent round table event held in Rio de Janeiro, Italo Freitas, Eletrobras’ Vice-President of Commercialization, emphasized the transformative potential of green hydrogen in Brazil. “Brazil can be a major exporter of e-methanol,” Freitas stated, shedding light on the company’s vision for a sustainable energy future.
Freitas recognizes that the journey towards a hydrogen-powered Brazil begins with internal consumption. He stressed the need to simultaneously support both hydrogen production and consumption within the nation, highlighting the importance of fostering a robust hydrogen ecosystem.
Eletrobras has taken a pioneering step by creating a dedicated area for synthetic fuels, often referred to as e-fuels, with a primary focus on harnessing the potential of green hydrogen in the transport sector. Vitor Hugo Ricco, E-fuels Manager at Eletrobras, pointed out the vast market opportunity that lies within the transportation sector. “Eletrobras supplies green hydrogen, captures CO2, and we make what we call e-fuels. Each customer will choose what they want: e-methanol, e-diesel, SAF,” Ricco explained, outlining the versatility of their approach.
At the Itumbiara plant, situated on the border of Minas Gerais and Goiás, Eletrobras employs solar and hydraulic energy to ensure the uninterrupted operation of their electrolyzer. In just one year of operation, this facility has already produced a remarkable 3 million tons of green hydrogen, signifying the company’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.
Eletrobras is a driving force behind the recently established Brazilian Association of the Green Hydrogen Industry (ABIHV), underlining their dedication to shaping the future of green hydrogen in Brazil. A key differentiator for Brazil in the green hydrogen race is its predominantly renewable energy matrix. Italo Freitas emphasized the unique advantage that Brazil holds due to its dispatchable and firm energy from hydroelectric plants, which is vital for ensuring continuous hydrogen production.
However, Freitas also stressed the importance of maintaining a clean energy matrix and avoiding the introduction of new thermoelectric plants that could compromise the grid’s environmental integrity. Countries with a renewable-dominant energy matrix can achieve more economically competitive green hydrogen production, reducing the need for dedicated renewable parks or extensive battery systems.
In the industrial sector, Eletrobras is witnessing growing demand from industries such as steel and fertilizers for green hydrogen-powered processes. Hydrogen consumption is set to play a pivotal role in transitioning these industries toward greener practices and enabling the export of eco-friendly products like green aluminum and green soy.
The company is actively engaged in studies to integrate green hydrogen into the operations of its steel industry customers, further emphasizing the potential for green hydrogen to reshape traditional industries.