Colombia, a nation renowned for its rich coffee exports and stunning landscapes, is on the brink of a remarkable transformation. This South American country is poised to emerge as a significant player in the global shipping industry’s shift toward scalable zero-emission fuels, primarily green hydrogen.
A recent study by the Getting to Zero coalition has shed light on Colombia’s immense potential in the green hydrogen arena, citing its low production costs, renewable energy resources, strategic geographical location, and untapped energy potential.
The cornerstone of Colombia’s green hydrogen potential lies in its ability to generate this eco-friendly fuel at a remarkably low levelised cost. The levelised cost of hydrogen, encompassing the entire lifecycle of hydrogen production, is a crucial metric. Colombia’s abundance of renewable energy resources, including solar and wind, positions it favorably to produce green hydrogen domestically at competitive costs.
The nation’s energy landscape already reflects a commitment to sustainability, with approximately 75.5% of Colombia’s electricity generated from low-carbon sources in 2022. The majority of this green energy comes from hydropower, but Colombia is steadfast in diversifying its energy mix. Ambitious plans include harnessing wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass sources, which not only contribute to greener electricity but also pave the way for green hydrogen production.
Colombia’s green hydrogen and its derivatives, such as ammonia and methanol, have the potential to replace fossil fuel exports, which currently account for a substantial 55% of the nation’s total exports. This shift aligns perfectly with the global imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. It also positions Colombia as a key player in the growing market for clean fuels, including bunker fuel for ships.
Colombia’s geographical location offers a unique advantage in the green hydrogen trade. Situated between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the nation enjoys abundant access to major trading routes and export markets. This strategic positioning ensures that Colombia can play a pivotal role in the global distribution of green hydrogen and its derivatives.
Colombian ports, notably Cartagena, could undergo a remarkable transformation to become hubs for bunkering low- and zero-emission fuels. Cartagena’s proximity to the Panama Canal, a critical maritime artery, adds to its appeal as a potential fueling hub. In 2022 alone, over 14,000 vessels transited the Panama Canal, carrying millions of tons of cargo. To realize this vision, however, considerable investments in storage and bunkering infrastructure, as well as specialized training for port personnel, are essential.
The impending shift of the shipping industry toward greener fuels is viewed as a boon for developing nations. These countries, including Colombia, boast abundant land and renewable energy resources, enabling them to produce green hydrogen at lower costs and on a larger scale than their developed counterparts. This not only positions Colombia as an attractive destination for green hydrogen production but also empowers other developing nations to join the global green shipping revolution.