Chile spearheads green hydrogen strategy

  • Market: Emissions, Fertilizers, Hydrogen, Oil products
  • 14/10/20

Chile has launched a long-term green hydrogen strategy as a way to exploit surplus renewable energy capacity, diversify its export-oriented economy and meet its emissions goals.

By 2050, the country could produce 25mn t/yr of green hydrogen, and earn $30bn/yr from liquefied exports, capturing 50pc of the Japanese and South Korean markets and 20pc of the Chinese market, according to a McKinsey consultancy study cited by energy minister Juan Carlos Jobet in a presentation today.

Chile's projected 2030 production would represent 5pc of global green hydrogen market.

Although Chile's exports would have higher logistical costs because of market distance, they would be among the world's least expensive because of lower production costs, Jobet said.

He cited more than 20 pilot projects already on the drawing board in Chile, including a green methanol and gasoline initiative based on a 30MW wind farm in far-south Magallanes, with Chile's AME, Italy's Enel Green Power, Germany's Siemens and Porche. The project would be built at state-owned oil company Enap's Cabo Negro installations.

France's Engie and Chilean explosives manufacturer Enaex are working on a green ammonia pilot project in the northern Antofagasta region, based on 1GW of solar, to launch in 2024.

Chile generated 44pc of its electricity from renewable sources in 2019, a level projected to reach 70pc in 2030.

"We have 70 times more renewable energy generating capacity than we currently consume, so we have to find ways to take advantage of that potential, not only to improve our quality of life, but also to export this to the world, to generate income and contribute to the goal of carbon neutrality," Jobet said.

Chile currently boasts $28.6bn in renewable energy projects, with 49pc under construction and 51pc awaiting environmental permits. Solar accounts for 49pc of the total, followed by wind with 18pc.

Jobet noted the potential for hydrogen marine fuel, which would help to reduce overall emissions associated with the country's copper exports. Diesel used at Chile's copper mines would be replaced with hydrogen as well.

Jobet was careful to distinguish the hydrogen potential from lithium, of which Chile is a leading producer. Lithium batteries are heavy but they provide an energy burst, while hydrogen-based energy is more akin to a marathon, he said.


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