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Government of Chile Supports Green Hydrogen

By March 3, 2019

March 3, 2019

Santiago de Chile (GTAI) – Chile’s government is seeking a pioneering role for “green” hydrogen. It invests in the development of fuel cells and hybrid-powered trucks.

Government goal to reduce CO2 emissions

As part of the government’s goal of reducing up to 30 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030 and switching increasingly to renewable energies, the Department of Energy is focusing on hydrogen production from alternative sources for storage technologies.

So far, there are only three types of power storage technologies in Chile. Mechanical storage in the form of hydroelectric dams by reservoirs, electrochemical storage in the form of lithium-ion batteries connected to coal-fired power plants, and thermal storage systems powered by solar energy installations.

Government plans, support programs, administrative hurdles

MINISTRY WANTS TO CLOSE LOOPHOLES

The Ordinance on the Coordination and Operation of the National Electricity System (Ley 20.936) regulates the Chilean energy market, including aspects such as storage technologies. However, the different forms of storage are not recorded in detail. Here, experts still complain about loopholes. They also call for an improvement of tendering processes and bureaucratic formalities.

All storage systems are under the supervision and coordination of the regulator CNE (Comisión Nacional de Energía). In January 2019, Chilean Energy Minister Susana Jiménez announced that storage technologies would be included in a planned reform of the Energy Distribution Act (Ley 20.571). The draft should be available to Congress by the end of 2019. The ministry is planning its own normative framework for storage technologies. Local technology groups such as the Japanese IT company NEC, AES and, Siemens, as well as Chilean companies like Valhalla, support this approach.

The Energy Minister also announced in November 2018 a bill to make the energy system more flexible. Storage technologies associated with renewable energy sources are at the heart of this. Restrictive regulations on investments in energy production and distribution should be relaxed. The ministry wants to announce more exact contents in the first months 2019. Sustainable storage technologies and price signals are likely.

GOVERNMENT PROMOTES HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGIES FOR MINING

The State Production Promotion Agency (Corfo Corporación de Fomento de la Producción) initiated a program for mining in 2017. This involves the development of hybrid-powered trucks and the use of hydrogen in fuel cells for smaller machines.

Alsat, NTT Data, Compañía Minera del Pacífico, BHP Chile, Anglo American Sur, and Engie, as well as Universidad de Santiago and Universidad Católica Universities, formed a technological consortium for the development of trucks. It is developing a prototype in which hydrogen replaces 60 to 70 percent of the diesel. Corfo will take over $ 5.9 million (US $) of the total cost of $ 18.4 million. For the Hydrogen Fuel Cell project, Codelco, Collahuasi, Metalpar, Siemens, Engie and Linde merged with Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María University, SONAMI Mining Company and CNH2, the Spanish Center for Hydrogen. Corfo will assume $ 1 million of the total cost of $ 1.9 million. The project has a maximum term of five years.

In addition, Corfo has been working with various companies since 2018 to build a knowledge base for hydrogen technologies.

INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS ARE CONSIDERED AS STANDARDS FOR HYDROGEN TECHNOLOGIES

In Chile, there are no specific laws and standards regarding the use of hydrogen. However, companies must follow general guidelines for industrial gases. In addition to national and international standards, most companies set internal standards.

In particular, state, but also private Chilean universities invest in the development of production systems, new materials and the optimization of the processes of extraction and storage.

CHILE IS PLANNING THE LARGEST TECHNOLOGICAL INSTITUTE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Corfo is planning to build Chile’s largest technological institute in the north of the country as part of the energy transition and its goal of becoming a global pioneer in green hydrogen and storage technologies. The aim here is to promote lithium materials research and promote solar energy and low-emission mining. The government is focusing on research and development of electrochemical storage systems such as lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage. Currently there is a call for tenders for information gathering and interest

Source: GTAI Government revises regulatory framework / By Anne Litzbarski and Samantha Bischof (February 2019)