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Santiago airport launches plan to become Latin America's first green hydrogen airport

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    Following the environmental plans of Groupe ADP and VINCI Airports, Nuevo Pudahuel has taken the first step to ensure that Arturo Merino Benitez Santiago Airport becomes the first in Latin America to incorporate the use of hydrogen in its operations. Together with a group of leading energy companies (Air Liquide, Copec and Colbun), with the support of Airbus, the concessionaire signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work on a plan to incorporate this carbon-free fuel into the operations of Chile's main airport.

    Nuevo Pudahuel's shareholders, Groupe ADP and VINCI Airports, have taken the lead in promoting this energy worldwide, with first developments in France and South Korea. In 2021, Groupe ADP and VINCI Concessions, and a group of major companies launched the first clean hydrogen infrastructure fund. In 2023, VINCI Airports' Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport will have the first hydrogen facility.

    Groupe ADP's Paris Orly and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports, which have hosted the first hydrogen station for cabs since 2017, will have new hydrogen facilities for ground and air mobility, such as buses, trucks and ground handling equipment, starting in 2024. In addition, Groupe ADP, Air Liquid and Airbus have studied the challenges of organizing a H2 supply changeover for 30 airports worldwide and have also sized hydrogen facilities for aircraft at Paris airports.

    The agreement to study the possibility of turning Santiago into a hydrogen hub was signed by the top representatives of Nuevo Pudahuel, Air Liquide, Colbún and Copec, in the presence of Airbus, in a ceremony attended by the Ministers of Public Works, Juan Carlos García; of Transport and Telecommunications, Juan Carlos Muñoz; of Science and Technology, Flavio Salazar, the Undersecretary of Energy, Julio Maturana, the Ambassador of France in Chile, Pascal Teixeira da Silva, and the Vice President of CORFO, José Miguel Benavente, marking the beginning of an alliance to implement hydrogen in a pioneering manner at Santiago Airport.

    The complementary experience and expertise of each of the local companies will bring together all the elements necessary to establish a more sustainable ecosystem within the Arturo Merino Benitez airport complex.

    Air Liquide will lead the development of the study, in close coordination with Nuevo Pudahuel. In addition, it will use its expertise in hydrogen production and distribution to build and operate an electrolyzer for green hydrogen production and the associated hydrogen supply chain. Colbún, a leader in Chile's power generation sector, will provide the renewable energy for the project, while ensuring the energy efficiency of the value chain. This energy will come both from photovoltaic panels that the company will install and operate at the airport, as well as from Colbún's various renewable energy plants. Copec, the main operator of service stations in Chile, will contribute with its experience in fuel storage and supply systems, in addition to the projection to estimate the hydrogen demand that this initiative will have, considering its current participation in the aviation fuel market inside the airport.

    Xavier Lortat-Jacob, general manager of Nuevo Pudahuel, says that "as a concessionaire we have a commitment with the State of Chile. We recently delivered a new terminal, which considerably increases the quality and areas for international flights. We are promoting its use with new routes and new airlines, but we must innovate by making sure we grow while taking care of the environment. We do this by using this clean energy, the development of which has been pioneered by our main shareholders. Green hydrogen will allow us to support the growth of air transport in harmony with the environment.

    This initiative will specifically contribute to Santiago de Chile's Arturo Merino Benitez Airport's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

    Air Liquide is already working with partners such as Groupe ADP, VINCI Concessions and Airbus on different projects to decarbonize the aviation and airport sectors in France and South Korea. Air Liquide is committed to building a more sustainable future by helping our customers and society to decarbonize the planet," said Alec Young, general manager of the company in Chile. Chile has vast renewable and natural resources, and Air Liquide is proud to support the establishment of hydrogen ecosystems within the country. We are proud to join Copec, Colbún and Nuevo Pudahuel in the development of a hydrogen ecosystem at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago de Chile that will address the mitigation of carbon emissions from the aviation industry and demonstrate the potential of hydrogen in decarbonizing sectors traditionally difficult to reduce."

    "Climate urgency challenges us to work in partnerships and seek collaboration to accelerate the energy transition, which will require clean fuels such as green hydrogen to decarbonize our economy. This project, which genuinely crystallizes that spirit of collaboration, is consistent with the roadmap that Colbún has set for itself to be a protagonist in the transformation to an emission-free energy matrix and allows us to help our customers meet their sustainability goals," said José Ignacio Escobar, CEO of Colbún.

    "Copec will make available to the consortium all the experience gained, both in fuels and new energies, so that the airport can be supplied with green hydrogen at Chile's first hydroline station. We are confident in our capabilities and those of our allies to achieve a more sustainable operation at the airport and with renewable energies for Chileans who travel every day," said Arturo Natho, general manager of Copec.


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