Numerous companies and institutions see green hydrogen as a future substitute for natural gas. And Castellón is precisely one of the territories in which there is a greater expectation. The main economic activity of the province,ceramics, uses large amounts of natural gas to carry out its processes, and for this reason there are several projects located around the tile cluster aimed at this goal. One of the most outstanding is the investment being prepared by BP and Iberdrola in the Serrallo industrial estate in Castelló. But this technology is still in an experimental phase, and there are many steps to be taken before it becomes a truly reliable alternative.
The most obvious confirmation comes from the markets. The European Energy Exchange, considered the main energy reference exchange in Europe, has created theHydrix index, in which, from now on, green hydrogen quotations are reflected. This premiere confirms what has been feared for years: its price is much higher than that of natural gas.
Results of the premiere
The first indicators stand at 231.6 euros per megawatt hour. A figure that would not be so far-fetched if compared to gas last summer, when it reached peaks of 345 euros. Instead, it is now at stabilized levels, and these days is quoted on the European reference market - the TTF of the Netherlands - at less than 40 euros. Hydrogen costs eight times as much, and for now is not in a position to be competitive.
"A long road."
The general secretary of the ceramic manufacturers' association (Ascer), Alberto Echavarría, referred to this debut of hydrogen in the markets. He commented that from the sector "we already have certainties", to add that there are many challenges to overcome.
"Not only the technological barrier has to be overcome, but also an economic barrier of almost nine times the current price," he mentioned, so the replacement of natural gas by hydrogen will be "a very long road". He also warned that this price of hydrogen "forces to review many calculations and that it can leave many without speech".
It will be the future that will determine the viability of this technology. On the one hand, it will have to be seen whether mass production will help lower the price, while there is another challenge related to the technological modifications linked to this new source.