Colbún SA, a prominent Chilean energy company, has announced its ambitious green hydrogen production project (H2V). This endeavor aims to revolutionize the cooling systems of its Nehuenco thermoelectric plant, located in the Valparaíso Region, by replacing conventional gray hydrogen with clean, green hydrogen.
The Nehuenco green hydrogen project represents a pivotal moment in Colbún’s ongoing efforts to modernize its combined cycles and adapt to the challenges posed by the energy transition. This innovative project encompasses the construction of an in-house electrolyzer and a small solar plant with an installed capacity of 100 kW. These components will work in synergy to produce green hydrogen within the Nehuenco plant, setting a transformative precedent in Chile’s energy landscape.
The primary objective of the project is to substitute gray hydrogen, currently employed for cooling Units II and III at the Nehuenco plant, with green hydrogen. Remarkably, this shift towards sustainable energy will require only approximately 30 liters of water per day to operate efficiently.
Upon completion and operation, the Nehuenco green hydrogen project is poised to deliver substantial environmental benefits. It is estimated to eliminate the emission of nine tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually. This reduction in CO2 emissions aligns seamlessly with Chile’s commitment to mitigating climate change and transitioning towards sustainable energy sources.
Colbún’s Green Hydrogen manager, Juan Pablo Fiedler, emphasizes the project’s potential to foster technological knowledge, strengthen supplier relationships, and enhance the overall performance and efficiency of green fuel utilization. The project embodies Colbún’s vision to incorporate green hydrogen into various industrial processes, with Nehuenco serving as the pioneering example.
Fiedler states, “At Colbún, we are convinced that green hydrogen will have an increasingly relevant role in many industrial processes. This project arises precisely from that vision, that is, identifying our industrial processes where we can use green hydrogen. And although Nehuenco will be the first, we have already detected other processes where we can advance in this same direction.”
The Nehuenco green hydrogen project is scheduled to commence construction in early 2024, with production anticipated to commence later in the same year. Colbún has already initiated the procurement process for essential equipment, including electrolyzers, H2 storage tanks, photovoltaic panels, and control systems, demonstrating its commitment to swift implementation.
Colbún’s foray into green hydrogen is not an isolated endeavor. The company previously partnered with the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo to explore green hydrogen projects focused on ammonia production. This collaboration seeks to harness renewable energy for the creation of green ammonia in the regions of Antofagasta and Magallanes.
Additionally, Colbún has actively engaged in green hydrogen initiatives, forming alliances with various stakeholders, including the Santiago Airport and Komatsu Cummins, to explore the potential applications of green hydrogen in aviation and electromobility.
Colbún aspires to play a pivotal role in shaping Chile’s green hydrogen landscape, both for domestic consumption and potential export markets. The company envisions fostering collaborations with producers and consumers of green hydrogen, driving forward the nation’s transition to sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources.