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    Dr. José Rodríguez: "Chile has the potential to become the Saudi Arabia of green hydrogen".


    November 28, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      Optimistic but critical is the view of Dr. José Rodríguez Pérez, the most cited Chilean researcher in the world in the field of engineering for the ninth consecutive year. One of his most promising works has to do with the heart of electromobility, applying a new theory, based on his own equations, regarding predictive control in power electronics in electric motors, increasing their efficiency.

      Admirer of the American croatra genius Nikola Tesla, the rector of the U. San Sebastian (USS) since April this year, was born in the small town of Malalhue, in the region of Los Rios, then his family moved to Osorno and at age 13 he began his studies in electronics in Valparaiso, and after graduating from the Technical University Federico Santa Maria, he left to pursue a doctorate in Germany (U. Erlangen).

      "I tell young people that will is power. In my case, I am a person with normal cognitive abilities, like anyone else, so the results I have obtained can be achieved by anyone. The key is to work as a team and be optimistic," he says.

      -Which of these energies has more potential for development and massification in Chile: wind, solar, tidal or geothermal?

      -The one that has the most potential in Chile is, by far, photovoltaic, and then wind. Geothermal and tidal power are too small to think of an exponential development. As a country, in the north we have skies with a lot of radiation and in the southern area we have extremely strong winds.

      -Do you think Chile can become a green hydrogen exporting power?

      So far we have had regulatory successes that favored the development of non-conventional renewable energies. There are also entrepreneurs very interested in developing the green hydrogen industry in Chile. From here we could export it to the rest of the planet. For example, the winds of Punta Arenas have an incredible wind potential, and that allows us to dream of large-scale industrialization of green hydrogen, but we need to have clear rules to attract the capital required.

      -Do you agree with the steps the country is taking in this sense?

      -I view with deep concern some regulatory requirements related to environmental impact. One of the most advanced projects in the Magallanes area (Faro del Sur) was withdrawn by the company, because the regulator's requirements introduced, among other things, more than one year of delay in the environmental impact study alone. The withdrawal of this project had a negative impact on the business world. This is a serious event.

      -Can we be left out of producing and exporting green hydrogen?

      -It remains to be seen. My caveat is that all countries are looking at producing and exporting green hydrogen. To attract capital we have to be competitive. Compared to the oil powers, Chile has the potential to become a Saudi Arabia of green hydrogen, which would change the face and status of our country forever. Therefore, we have to do things right, be more agile, more competitive. If not, we are going to lose this opportunity and that would be regrettable for Chile and for the planet that we are going to leave to the next generations. This is happening with lithium; Australia surpassed us and by 2030 Argentina and China will do the same. We have to make a deep analysis in terms of market and regulation in order to be competitive.

      -Why don't we have lithium battery factories in Chile?

      -It is what often happens. Manufacturing lithium batteries is a very sophisticated technological process, and for companies to install them in Chile we would have to offer attractive market conditions and be more agile, because this type of investments are substantial. The plants will be installed where they are most attractive to investors. It is as simple as that and we cannot do anything against that reality. The global economy works that way.

      -How is the development of research in private universities, such as the one you direct?

      -Young private universities are intensifying their actions in the areas of research and doctorates, reaching levels of accreditation of excellence. USS is also committed to this, we have a plan to hire more than 200 researchers to come and reinforce this work and we have sought alliances, such as the one we have with the Science for Life Foundation of the outstanding researcher Pablo Valenzuela, and with Claudio Bunster's Center for Scientific Studies in Valdivia. We are also encouraging more research among academics and students.

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