The Spanish dream of emissions-free heavy industry begins on a craggy Castilian hillside covered in solar panels and concludes with a refreshing beer. Renewable hydrogen will determine the beer’s price and availability.
The country intends to lead Europe in renewable hydrogen. Spain wants to export gas to Europe using its plentiful sun and wind and large natural landscapes.
Electrolysis of water by renewable energy sources produces green hydrogen. This method generates no carbon dioxide like the plane’s heater, but it accounts for less than 0.1% of global hydrogen generation.
Spain’s renewable energy sector cannot produce enough green hydrogen to replace natural gas and coal in petrochemical, steel and agricultural production, according to critics.
His supporters are betting on the country’s ambitions to jumpstart renewable hydrogen. In December, the International Energy Agency predicted that Spain will account for half of European renewable hydrogen capacity increase.
Puertollano, a former mining town now home to a major industrial park, is where Iberdrola and Fertiberia have collaborated to build the first carbon-neutral fertiliser plant. world carbon. Heineken will brew the first “green malt” drink using the fertiliser on malted barley.
The largest European plant, Puertollano, is piloting. Iberdrola owns the solar panels that generate 100 megawatts for electrolysers to separate hydrogen from water. Hydrogen from massive tanks is sent directly to Fertiberia, where it is utilised to generate ammonia, a nitrogenous fertiliser.
Fertiberia’s “grey” hydrogen comes from natural gas, although the plant can cut emissions by 10%. By 2035, the corporation wants zero carbon emissions.
The renewable hydrogen business has several early obstacles. First, expense. Fertiberia general director Javier Goñi claimed the technology has yet to produce a lucrative product.
Spanish industries are asking the EU for funds to match the US$750 million promised for hydrogen research and development in the country. They say governmental support is needed to build the market so economies of scale make zero-emission products affordable.
The European Commission proposes that the 27 member states produce and import 10 million metric tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030. He announced an intra-community hydrogen market and infrastructure assessment last month.
Hydrogen, the lightest element, is flammable and hard to store. To reduce leakage, Iberdrola erected next to Fertiberia’s facility. After meeting Spain’s hydrogen demands for brewing, Iberdrola and its competitors will have to seek abroad for development. Fertiberia’s ammonia made using Iberdrola’s green hydrogen might transport hydrogen in liquid form before transforming it into gas.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Europe has prioritised industrial hydrogen decarbonization. Russia produces the second-most natural gas, which powers most hydrogen production.
Spain, France, Germany, and Portugal agreed to develop a hydrogen pipeline by 2030 to send two million metric tonnes of hydrogen to France, 10% of the EU’s expected hydrogen needs.
Nonetheless, some Spaniards oppose hydrogen plants. In drought-prone areas, renewable energy installations and the 9:1 water-to-green hydrogen ratio are difficult to market.