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Hydrogen is used worldwide as a raw material in industries such as oil refining and the manufacture of fertilisers and chemicals. Global hydrogen consumption is about 70 million tonnes per year, according to the latest IEA Report (International Energy Association).
At present, almost all hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels, which means that large amounts of CO2 are emitted in the process. But there is a way to produce hydrogen without emissions: obtaining it by electrolysing water.
Electricity is needed to carry out electrolysis, which separates oxygen from hydrogen. If this electricity is produced from renewable sources, what we get is "green hydrogen", an element that can be used as a raw material in many areas and that allows those industrial and transport sectors to be decarbonised where electrification is technically or economically unfeasible.
An ally for decarbonisation
Green hydrogen is the perfect ally for the decarbonisation of the sectors where electrification is not feasible to reduce emissions and thus combat climate change. This is the case for some chemical sectors that use hydrogen as a raw material, industrial sectors that need large heat inputs in their processes and where electrification is not economically or technically possible (steel and cement), aviation and shipping.
In addition, renewable hydrogen produced through electrolysis can contribute to the proper regulation of a 100% renewable electricity system, providing greater flexibility and improving security of supply.
At present, large-scale green hydrogen production plants are not yet economically competitive. However, in the expected context of decreasing renewable generation costs, rising CO2 prices, the improved efficiency of electrolysers, reduced investment in electrolysers and the need for seasonal energy storage, renewable hydrogen production technologies could become competitive in industrial uses in the coming years.
At the present time, there is still a need for support mechanisms to make the use of hydrogen competitive with other alternatives to demonstrate its viability.
What is the status of the 23 green hydrogen projects that were announced?
Endesa is preparing a macroplan to promote the development of green hydrogen in Spain, which includes an investment of 2.9 billion euros. There are a total of 23 projects that we presented in a letter of interest to the Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge to qualify for Next Generation funds. They are not the only ones; in total we have a portfolio of projects and plans that aims to mobilise a total of 23 billion euros from the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience funds, distributed over a total of 122 projects. These 23 projects are part of an evolving portfolio, so we continue to explore new opportunities for these projects.