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    Hydrogen yes, but not like this

    March 22, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      With its 2.5 billion euros of investment, H2Med, the underwater hydrogen pipeline (the first in the world) that is to transport hydrogen from the Iberian peninsula to the rest of Europe, is a project as pharaonic as it is controversial. While its supporters see it as a project of community interest and essential for the decarbonization of energy, Greenpeace and the Renewables Foundation have presented a joint document in which they warn that its construction "responds more to the demand of the gas sector than to the real interests of society".

      "The Government of Spain is unwisely betting on turning us into a hydrogen hub, in which to make a bet on the overproduction of renewable electricity in order to produce and export hydrogen," said Fernando Ferrando, president of the Renewables Foundation, at the presentation of the report Dismantling hydrogen: H2Med, alibi for a false energy transition.

      Pere Margalef, director of hydrogen technology at the Italian energy infrastructure operator Snam, doubts that "Spain will ever be able to generate enough electricity from renewable sources to supply the national electricity market, produce hydrogen for self-consumption and, in addition, produce hydrogen for export". In this sense, Greenpeace and the Renewables Foundation fear that H2Med will end up transporting hydrogen produced from natural gas or nuclear, two energy sources considered green by the European taxonomy.


      2.5 billion euros of investment for H2Med, plus 4.5 billion euros to develop the backbone network within the country.

      On the other side of the scale is Javier Brey, president of the Spanish Hydrogen Association (AeH2). Brey states that "it has been calculated that Spain does have enough potential to supply the domestic market and, at the same time, to be able to produce hydrogen from renewable electricity for export". In addition, the president of AeH2 points out the opportunity that H2Med represents in making Spain the European entry point for hydrogen from Africa and South America. In fact, the announcement of Greenpeace and the Renewables Foundation has coincided with the celebration in Barcelona of the first edition of the North Africa & Europe Energy & Hydrogen Fair (Naepec).

      In reference to the demand for hydrogen, José Luis García, head of the Climate, Energy and Mobility area of Greenpeace, said that "H2Med is based on the creation of an artificial supply, much higher than the current or future demand for hydrogen because the use of this energy vector should be limited to all those energy uses that cannot be electrified".


      There is still a long way to go before hydrogen produced with renewable energies becomes competitive.

      This last point, the important role of hydrogen in the decarbonization of industry and maritime and air transport, is the only one on which opponents and supporters of the H2Med hydroproduct agree. However, there is still some way to go for hydrogen produced from renewable electricity to be competitive with hydrogen produced from natural gas, which is still the majority. On the other hand, hydrogen produced from renewables has another drawback: for each kilogram of hydrogen, 12 kg of water are required (9 kg of pure water and 3 kg that are discarded). In Margalef's opinion, thanks to desalination, water use is not a problem. Brey points out that "less than 2% of the drinking water lost in the national water distribution network would be enough to produce all the hydrogen foreseen in the current hydrogen roadmap for 2013".


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