Spain: Gijón to become hydrogen hub

According to the plan that the Ministry for the Ecological Transition submitted to the European Union (EU) for consideration as a Project of Common Interest, Gijón will serve as the neuralgic point of connection for the first two axes of the fundamental network of green hydrogen in Spain (PCI).

The projected H2Med submarine hydro pipeline, which will cross the Mediterranean Sea to connect Barcelona and Marseille, is another contender for Spain.

The first two axes of the green hydrogen trunk network will connect the main hydrogen production facilities with local demand and, via international connections, will also enable a portion of the demand to be delivered to Europe, with Gijón serving as the connecting point between the two.

One of the axes parallels one of the major Spanish gas pipelines and practically follows the Ruta de la Plata as it travels from north to south. The other section of Gijón connects to the one that will connect Cartagena with Barcelona along the Ebro valley and the eastern Cantabrian Sea. The latter will serve as the starting point for the H2Med, which will travel from there and connect the Catalan capital with Marseille underwater, while the Gijón-Huelva hydro duct will connect Puertollano and be the conduit for the transportation of hydrogen between Celorico da Beira (Portugal) and Zamora.

Two underground hydrogen storage facilities are planned to be placed in two saline cavities in Cantabria and the Basque Country, where the tube between Gijón and the Mediterranean façade will run. A feasibility study for these facilities is being offered to the EU as a PCI.

The two proposed axes compete as a single candidacy for its designation as a Project of Common Interest, whilst the warehouses—each of which is hypothesized to be “reinforcers and facilitators of international connections”—will elect individually and may be supported by various promoters.

The “Spanish backbone of hydrogen,” on which Enagás (the management of the gas system) has been reportedly collaborating for years, will be made up of these infrastructures, according to the Ministry. As the production and demand for hydrogen with no carbon impact, produced through electrolysis utilizing renewable sources of electricity, increases, future additions and developments will be made to this design.

Envisioned hydro ducts

The Government’s design for the EU is based on the work that Enagás has been doing, however, there are certain differences in this gas operator’s strategic strategy for the years 2022 to 2030. Gijón also appeared as the main intersection point between the hydro duct (or hydrogen pipeline) that will connect Castilla y León with Asturias through the HyDeal project and the axis that will connect Asturias with the Mediterranean through Cantabria, the Basque Country, and the Ebro Valley in the document made public by Enagás in recent months. However, Andalusia was not reached via the North-South axis. This community’s connection to the network was made possible by the use of another pipeline, which consisted of the gas pipeline’s adaption for hydrogen for its extension to the Ebro Valley. This pipeline connects Tarifa and Castilla-La Mancha diagonally.

Gijón’s importance in the two designs is a result of the large-scale supply and generation projects being carried out in the Principality as well as the considerable demand for hydrogen that is projected to exist in Asturias’ industrial sector.

The EU designated the EDP project to transform its Aboo (Carreo) thermal complex into a significant hub for the production of green hydrogen in September, which implies recognition of its viability and strategic nature as well as the ability to access public support for such reasons above the typical EU state aid limits. A 100-megawatt green hydrogen production facility in Aboo, fuelled by 400 megawatts of renewable energy generation (mostly wind and solar), could be operational by 2026 as part of EDP’s first phase of construction. In Soto de Ribera, EDP is working on a different project that involves multiple generations and storage technologies.

In response, a group led by Hunosa, Duro Felguera, Nortegas, and Alsa will use mine water and the Fondón well in Langreo to create green hydrogen.

These three initiatives already got public funding on January 1st from the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving in the sum of 39 million (IDAE)

These programs are a component of the 25 initiatives that make up the Recode program, which will mobilize 2,400 million to produce 170,000 tons of hydrogen in Asturias by 2030 under the supervision of the Principality.

Another outstanding project is being undertaken by the HyDeal consortium, which includes ArcelorMittal, Fertiberia, Enagas, DH2 Energy, and Soladvent. This group will mobilize more than $8 billion for a plan that combines the supply of hydrogen produced in Castilla y León with the production of hydrogen.