Hydrogen industry under study in New Caledonia

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Greening the mining industry and developing low-carbon mobility are two of the ambitions of New Caledonia’s future energy transition plan.

The government also wants to move away from imported fossil fuels and move towards self-sufficiency in energy production. How can this be achieved? By positioning itself on the hydrogen market.

Producing synthetic fuels

The nickel sector is the first to be affected. The metallurgical and mining industry accounts for three quarters of New Caledonia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Although KNS still needs to be convinced, a framework agreement signed in May calls for the use of 70% renewable energy in the metallurgical energy mix by 2030. And hydrogen would also help reduce emissions, according to Sylvain David, the transition manager at Prony Resources. “When we mix hydrogen with CO2 that we could recover, and that we would avoid emitting, we can make synthetic fuels. Methanol is one of them and it can replace diesel, gas.”

“It’s pretty easy in the end to transform thermal engines that we use in our cars today to add a green fuel. And little by little, we replace a fossil fuel with a green fuel.” Sylvain David, Director of Transition at Prony Ressources

Hydrogen for container ships?

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2035? The government’s objective seems illusory. But listening to private sector experts talk about hydrogen, the solution is obvious, virtuous and even generates new revenues. The quantities that could be produced in New Caledonia, because of the sunshine and the amount of CO2 produced by the mines and in particular by Prony, could allow us to manufacture enough methanol to fuel container ships, for example,” says Myriam Balme, managing director of Gazpac. They could come and refuel on their way to New Caledonia.”

Creating jobs

Christopher Gygès will travel to Paris in September to defend New Caledonia’s hydrogen production file. “New Caledonia is eligible for the “France hydrogen” plan. But to apply for it, you have to have serious projects,” says the government member in charge of the energy transition. On his return, calls for projects will be launched on mobility and decarbonization of industry. “We see that there are many initiatives launched in Caledonia in this sector. Hydrogen, it’s expensive at the moment T as photovoltaic was expensive 10 years ago, but is profitable today. “

“Our goal is to have this public-private partnership to create jobs, because it is a real source of economic diversification, to improve environmental conditions and our ecological sovereignty.” Christopher Gygès, government member in charge of energy transition

Nedim Husomanovic

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