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    Vigo accelerates green transition: Zona Franca's hydrogen plant assigned

    November 28, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras


      The Grand Char Mécanique is the rudimentary device that, more than 200 years ago, demonstrated that hydrogen was capable of powering movement. It was put into practice by a Swiss inventor, François Isaac de Rivaz, with a wheeled mammoth weighing almost a ton that was able to travel 26 meters on a 9% slope in a small Swiss village. It reached three kilometers per hour, loaded with wood, stones and some local volunteers, using a mixture of this chemical element with oxygen. In its own way, it worked, although no material remains of the experiment. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and can be turned green thanks to the energy produced by renewables, which makes it a kind of philosopher's stone on the constant path towards decarbonization. In which Vigo wants to play a leading role: the green hydrogen plant promoted by the Vigo Free Trade Zone Consortium, which deploys as a complementary project a wide network of photovoltaic panels, gallops towards the start of the works. The infrastructure has already been awarded.

      It will be a joint venture (temporary union of companies) in charge of carrying it out, as confirmed by sources of the entity directed by David Regades. The alliance forged between the companies Imesapi and H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies obtained the best score during the bidding process, for which more than a dozen applicants competed. This hybrid hydrogen and photovoltaic self-consumption facility will be executed for 7.1 million euros plus VAT, with a closed execution period of 39 months. This places its commissioning for the second half of the year 2024. Due to the technical characteristics of the solar panels, the fact that this infrastructure is dual will allow the storage of surplus electricity, which is one of the factors that make Galicia an ideal location for green hydrogen due to its richness in wind, for example.

      " The sustainable, circular, green and environmentally friendly economy is one of our axes. As an example -points out the delegate of Zona Franca-, the hydrogen valley project that we are launching and that places Vigo at the forefront". Regades' roadmap does not include a solo route for the implementation of this infrastructure. The hybrid plant is eligible for a grant of 1.5 million euros from the H2 Pioneers Program within the Renewable Energy, Renewable Hydrogen and Storage Program (PERTE ERHA) promoted by the Ministry of Ecological Transition. In addition, this initiative is supported by the Galician Automotive Technology Center (CTAG), the Technological Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (Energylab) and the automotive cluster Ceaga.

      In detail

      The project foresees a self-consumption photovoltaic installation to be installed on the 15,000 square meters of the roofs of the warehouses in the Bouzas industrial park in Zona Franca. It will consist of 5,982 units with an annual production of 3.8 GWh, of which 2.05 will go to the hydrogen plant and 1.54 to self-consumption. Annual water consumption will reach 1,190 cubic meters per year and production will reach 54 metric tons. The Consortium's plan also includes a hydrogen production, storage and dispensing plant (hydrogen plant), which will occupy 350 square meters. The hydrogen produced will be used to power fleets of vehicles, so "a constant production of hydrogen must be maintained throughout the year," the entity specifies. It is for this reason that the plant is designed to absorb electricity from the grid when solar energy is not sufficient with guarantees of renewable origin, which will occur mainly in winter.

      "The project will help establish an infrastructure that will stimulate the adoption of vehicles powered by alternative fuels, such as hydrogen. It is estimated that this project will reduce 1,215 tons of CO2 emissions per year," said the Consortium. There are already public service vehicles in Vigo that use hydrogen, and demand is expected to increase, hence Zona Franca's firm commitment to this sustainable initiative. Regades underlined that "the installation foresees the production of green hydrogen" and advanced that "it will also cover the consumption of the companies installed in the polygon of Bouzas, which will entail a reduction of its energy expenditure and the support to its energetic transition".

      H2B2 Electrolysis Technologies has already undertaken similar projects in California (at the initiative of the California Energy Commission), Illescas (in Toledo, for the French company FM Logistic) or Seville (Cepsa).


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