León (EFE).- Green hydrogen represents an energy revolution predicted by Jules Verne in 1874, which will be key to addressing the decarbonization of the economy, in a revolution in the field of energy in which everything remains to be done .
Renewable hydrogen is obtained mainly through electrolysis, this is the separation of hydrogen from oxygen in water through renewable electricity.
The mysterious island: the substitute water for coal
The brilliant French writer predicted in the pages of his novel “The Mysterious Island” that water would come to replace coal as a source of energy.
And now, almost 150 years later, it is more or less a reality, just like other scientific predictions and technological advances that plague his works.
In this revolution, Enagás Renovable and Naturgy have projected in the Leonese municipality of La Robla what, according to forecasts, by the end of 2026 will be by far the largest renewable hydrogen plant in Spain, whose production capacity will multiply to 280 megawatts ( MW).
This new plant, whose estimated investment reaches 485 million, will be located on the land of the old Naturgy thermal power plant, whose final closure was authorized in 2020 and which is currently in the process of being dismantled.
The manager of Enagás Renovable, Álvaro Pérez Tejada, explained in an interview with EFE that the plant will prevent the emission into the atmosphere of more than 430,000 tons of CO2 per year.
And with this it will contribute to the decarbonization of the industrial processes of the companies in the area.
“All this thanks to the fact that this process is powered entirely by renewable energy, so it does not generate any type of polluting emission into the atmosphere and it is the cleanest and most sustainable hydrogen,” he stressed.
Green hydrogen, a revolution in which everything remains to be done
The director of Enegás Renovable has specified that the so-called gray hydrogen currently consumed by some industries, such as refineries, requires fossil fuels for its production.
And green comes to replace that source of energy through photovoltaic or wind production that supplies electricity to an electrolyser and that is why it is considered green, since all its production is renewable.
“In addition to replacing gray hydrogen, it can also be done in the case of natural gas, and for this reason it represents a great revolution: it is a very good source of energy generation that is totally clean in emissions and, therefore, harmless to the environment,” has pointed out.
Pérez Tejada has said that although it is very difficult to know the official figures, the consumption of green hydrogen in Spain is currently “very low”, and therefore it is a field “in which there is everything to be done”,
For example, it can have a significant application in the heavy transport and mobility sector in general, and that all the studies place it as one of the main future vectors of this energy source.
“They are highly polluting sectors and environmental improvement is therefore going to be very important when consumption begins to reach significant levels, which will take some time,” he pointed out.
The arrival of green hydrogen in homes will come over time
Aside from the large industry, Pérez Tejada has qualified that many things would have to change for its consumption to become general and to become a source of energy that is used in homes.
“It is something that will come with time, but the first step will be its industrial use”, explained this expert, who points out that, as with all technologies, when a new market is being generated and created, the advances manage to reduce costs.
And he added: “Now we are at the dawn of the application of green hydrogen as a source of energy and we hope that in the coming years the efficiency curve will be given and production costs will be considerably reduced.”
According to Pérez Tejada, that objective is getting closer due to the increase in the “appetite” of companies in the sector for green hydrogen, which is why he predicts that “in the next two, three or four years” the cost reduction will be palpable. .
Renewable hydrogen for industries in the area and the rest of the Community
As for the La Robla plant, it has advanced that it will supply hydrogen to the surrounding industries, such as the factory that Cementos Tudela Veguín has in La Robla.
The construction of a hydrogen pipeline has been projected that will allow it to be sent to the rest of the Community and even outside of it.
The development of the La Robla renewable hydrogen production plant will be associated with the start-up of a photovoltaic solar generation project made up of various parks located in neighboring municipalities, and whose total capacity is around 450 MW.
Likewise, sustainable mobility actions are planned in the Autonomous Community, such as those promoted by the transport company Alsa for interurban lines in the province.
Pérez Tejada has highlighted that the current main objective of the project is to minimize the economic and social impact of the transition in the area and contribute to the development of a green and low-carbon economy.
And he stresses that the La Robla plant will mean an important boost for employment and local and regional social and economic development.
The forecast is that once all the administrative procedures are completed, the works will begin throughout the first half of 2024 and that once it is operational, it will generate some four hundred direct and induced jobs. EFE