The Basque Hydrogen Corridor

The Basque Hydrogen Corridor BH2C is a project that aims to create a “hydrogen ecosystem” in the Basque Country that will enable progress to be made in the decarbonisation of the energy, industrial, residential and mobility sectors.

The idea was initially born from the decision of the Petronor – Repsol oil company to invest in projects related to progress in the energy transition. In this way, it hopes to become a zero-emissions company by 2050. In this way, the business group aspires to turn the Basque Country into a hydrogen hub towards a green productive economy. The BH2C has the participation of 78 organisations: 8 institutions, 58 companies and 12 knowledge centres and business associations. The project is aimed at transforming the productive fabric and maintaining the weight of industry in the economy.

What is green hydrogen?

Green hydrogen is a fuel obtained from a chemical process called electrolysis. Green hydrogen is a fuel obtained from a chemical process called electrolysis. This method uses electrical energy from renewable sources to separate hydrogen from  oxygen in water. In addition, when the hydrogen burns, it leaves behind only water vapour, instead of the greenhouse gases that come from fossil fuels. Unlike other renewable energies, it is storable and transportable. It has different applications such as:

– Mobility. As a vehicle fuel, it is positioning itself as the fuel of the future for long-distance road transport, heavy goods transport, buses, trains, ships and aviation.

– Large industry. Renewable hydrogen can be used in industrial manufacturing plants as a raw material.

– Domestic and commercial use. It represents a clean alternative for the decarbonisation of the residential and services sector.

The Basque Country has the necessary elements to develop an ecosystem around hydrogen:

– The port of Bilbao, with experience in liquefied natural gas, located on the long-distance freight route.

– The Petronor refinery, which will be a generator and consumer of green hydrogen.

– The network of gas pipelines for transporting hydrogen.

The project, comprising 34 initiatives, will require an investment of more than 1,300 million euros up to 2026, earmarked for the production of green hydrogen, research, technological and industrial development. This will result in an annual production of 20,000 tonnes of hydrogen while reducing more than 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

The projects that make up the initiative are grouped into:

– Production of renewable hydrogen and synthetic fuels.

– Mobility – Distribution logistics.

– Decarbonisation of Industry.

– Urban and residential uses

– Infrastructure.

– Industrial technology development

The project will be developed in two phases

– The first phase, which has already begun and will last until 2026, will focus on the development of renewable hydrogen production and infrastructures.

– The second, with an investment of 650 million euros for the production of renewable hydrogen with an installed capacity of 112 megawatts. Three facilities will be built for this purpose.

The first of these, a Petronor electrolyser designed by the engineering firm Sener, will be operational in 2022. It is the first electrolyser plant in Spain to produce green hydrogen, with a capacity of two megawatts, which will feed the Abanto Technology Park.

The second plant of Petronor, Ente Vasco de la Energía and Enagas, located in the Port of Bilbao, will be operational in 2024. It will have ten megawatts and its production will go to the synthetic fuels plant.

The third, which will come into operation in 2025, will have 100 megawatts and will be used to decarbonise Petronor’s production process and to cover the needs of the Corridor.

The project also contemplates the creation of a biogas production plant using solid urban waste to produce hydrogen.

A further 250 million euros will be earmarked for technological and industrial development and to promote digitalisation.

50 million euros will also be earmarked for research projects related to hydrogen applications in mobility: passenger transport, long-distance freight (train, aviation, shipbuilding); residential: heat generation and cogeneration to cover the needs of commercial or residential buildings; and industrial.

El proyecto se desarrollará en dos fases

  • La primera, ya iniciada y hasta 2026, se centrará en el desarrollo de la producción de hidrógeno renovable e infraestructuras.
  • La segunda, con una inversión de 650 millones de euros destinada a la producción de hidrógeno renovable con una capacidad instalada de 112 megavatios. Para ello,se construirán tres instalaciones.
  • La primera de ellas un electrolizador de Petronor proyectada por la ingeniería Sener, estará en funcionamiento en 2022. Se trata de la primera planta de electrolizadores del Estado destinada a la producción de hidrógeno verde. La planta contará con una capacidad de dos megavatios que alimentará el Parque Tecnológico de Abanto.
  • La segunda de PetronorEnte Vasco de la EnergíaEnagas, situada en el Puerto de Bilbao estará operativa en 2024. Tendrá diez megavatios y su producción se destinará a la planta de combustibles sintéticos.
  • La tercera que entrará en funcionamiento en 2025 tendrá cien megavatios y se dedicará a descarbonizar el proceso productivo de Petronor y a cubrir las necesidades del Corredor.

Además, el proyecto contempla la creación de una planta de fabricación de biogás a partir de residuos sólidos urbanos para la producirá hidrógeno.

Otros 250 millones de euros se destinarán al desarrollo tecnológico e industrial y a fomentar la digitalización

También se destinarán 50 millones de euros a proyectos de investigación relacionados con las aplicaciones del hidrógeno:

  • movilidad: transporte de pasajeros, mercancías de largo recorrido (tren, aviación, naval).
  • residencial: generación de calor y cogeneración para cubrir las necesidades de edificios comerciales o residenciales.
  • industrial.

25th of April 2021

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