As part of its ongoing work to modernize its combined cycles to meet the challenges of the energy transition, Colbún S.A. announced that it will develop a green hydrogen (H2V) production project to supply the cooling systems of its Nehuenco thermoelectric power plant, located in the Valparaíso Region.
The project contemplates the construction of its own electrolyzer and a small solar plant -with an installed capacity of 100 kw-, which will allow the generation of green hydrogen at Nehuenco and thus replace the gray hydrogen currently used for the cooling process of Units II and III. Only about 30 liters of water per day will be required to operate the system.
The initiative marks a milestone for the Company, as it will be the first molecules to be produced from green hydrogen. In addition, it will be the first green hydrogen project in a generation plant in Chile. Once in operation, it will avoid the emission of nine tons of CO2 per year.
Colbún's Green Hydrogen Manager, Juan Pablo Fiedler, highlighted that this project will be an opportunity to deepen technological knowledge, strengthen the relationship with suppliers and continue the search for options to improve the performance and efficiency of green fuel use.
"At Colbún we are convinced that green hydrogen will play an increasingly relevant role in many industrial processes. This project arises precisely from that vision, that is, to identify our own industrial processes where we can use green hydrogen. And while Nehuenco will be the first, we have already detected other processes where we can move in the same direction," said the executive.
The project will begin construction in early 2024 and production is expected to start by the end of the same year. Colbún is already in the process of quoting equipment such as electrolyzers, H2 storage tanks, photovoltaic panels and control systems, among others.
Other H2V projects
In January of this year Colbún signed an alliance with the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo to develop green hydrogen projects to produce ammonia. This agreement will allow both companies to jointly study the feasibility of developing industrial projects in the regions of Antofagasta and Magallanes to produce green ammonia based on hydrogen produced with renewable energy.
The year 2022 was also an active year in H2V matters for Colbún. In addition to creating the Green Hydrogen Management, the company formed a consortium with several actors and the Santiago Airport to explore the use of this fuel in its facilities, seeking to become the first airport in Latin America to operate with green hydrogen and accelerate its decarbonization goal. In addition, an alliance was established in 2021 with Komatsu Cummins for H2V projects in electromobility.
The company expects to continue promoting the development of H2V -both in projects for domestic consumption and for the export market- particularly through alliances with producers and potential consumers of this fuel.
As for its growth plans, Colbún seeks to build more than 4,000 MW by 2030 through a plan to develop wind, solar and storage projects. The company currently has a portfolio of renewable projects in early and advanced stages of development, totaling around 1,000 MW.