For a long time, HDF, which began operations in 2012, has been striving to establish projects in Chile. It is now working on its first initiative, which will be based in the Aysén Region in the country’s extreme south.
“We began in Chile in 2017, before the entire hydrogen trend, since we saw chances to power remote places with renewable energy, with a continual focus on medium-sized systems. We are looking at acquiring a wind farm project in Aysén that is presently under construction and that we feel would be beneficial to convert. We considered this before the roadmap was made public, and we are glad since we feel our ideas are a solid complement to the government’s approach. We believe there is place for a range of solutions, including this one, which is for home consumption, in the government’s approach. “The value chain will stay here and benefit the network,” Cristina Martn, HDF Energy’s VP Latin America, adds.
This endeavor stands out since it is the first to turn hydrogen into energy. This will be accomplished using a system built by HDF that includes components that have been around for a long time – such as a solar or wind farm, an electrolyzer, and storage – but the novelty is in the fact that all of the components operate, are pilotable, and can be modified to the network.
The business just completed funding for a project in French Guyana. The project, which is the world’s largest hydrogen-electricity plant, is comparable to the one it plans to start in Aysén. It also boasts the world’s largest renewable hydrogen storage system.
The project is located in a remote part of a French overseas territory that currently relies on diesel engines to generate power. The program will provide 10 steady MW throughout the day (from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) and 3 MW at other times. This is the equivalent of 10,000 dwellings, or around 45,000 people.
“In contemporary times, this solution is competitive in remote locations, which is why in Chile, we’re concentrating on Aysén, some Magallanes districts, and Easter Island, which is a developer’s dream.” There are also mining potential, but because we are specialists in hydrogen, we can also engage in production, even though it does not include the electricity conversion component,” Martn explains.
Chilean investment by the French
The first HDF project in Chile is expected to cost $250 million to build, with funding expected to be completed in early 2023. HDF was also pre-selected in a competition run by the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO) to grant up to $30 million in subsidies. Construction is expected to take 18 to 24 months, with the project starting operations in late 2024.
Although a 36 MW wind power capacity will be installed, the plan envisions a stable power of 12 MW 24 hours a day. Any excess energy will be utilized to make green hydrogen and charge the lithium batteries that will be used as a backup should the wind fails.
The firm Guerrero Olivos is presently advising the company on two alternatives for selling the supply: putting up a tariff system or entering into a contract with the distributor SAESA.
“Chile is always a role model. Chile has been a source of inspiration for countries who have already devised a roadmap, and those that haven’t are keeping an eye on Chile. This has been quite intriguing from a strategic standpoint,” Martn explains.