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Green Hydrogen in Uruguayan Energy Transition

By May 4, 2021 7   min read  (1221 words)

May 4, 2021 |

Fuel cells works, hydrogen, Green Hydrogen, h2, Uruguay, fuel cells

Green hydrogen, a key link to complete the energy transition

The commitment to Green Hydrogen is one of the axes of the second stage of the energy transition that our country begins to travel: what is Green Hydrogen, what is its importance to the world and to the Uruguayan energy transition, what advantages our country has to produce it and, eventually, export it, and what is the 2021 agenda in this area are presented below

Why develop Green Hydrogen in Uruguay?

Uruguay is completing the first stage of its energy transformation from the almost total decarbonization of the electric matrix. In the average of the last 4 years (2017-2020) 97% of the electricity generated in Uruguay came from renewable energies (44% Hydro, 32% Wind, 18% Biomass, 3% Solar).

 

Matriz de generación eléctrica

Source: BEN 2017, 2018, 2019 and Preliminary 2020 (electric matrix)

The second stage of the energy transition in Uruguay includes a number of challenges, including the development of a Hydrogen Economy and continuing the decarbonization of the energy and raw material production sectors.

As for the development of a Hydrogen Economy, Uruguay has many attributes to be a producer of Green Hydrogen to be: exported, consumed locally directly and in industries related to the production of raw materials and green chemistry, which in turn can be consumed locally or exported.

To name a few of the features Uruguay has for this development:

  1. great potential for generating electricity from wind and solar photovoltaic energy combined at low cost. A low population density that allows wind and solar plants to be carried out on land. Possibility to expand the generation of renewables to the maritime area from the offshore wind power installation.
  1. Ports with access to the Atlantic Ocean that allow the export of Hydrogen, its derivatives, raw materials and (green) chemicals that can be produced from Hydrogen.
  1. Gently undulating territory with country-round access routes and infrastructure for local transport of Hydrogen and its derivatives.
  1. Uruguay is a reliable country to receive investments in the production of Green Hydrogen, its derivatives and associated industry for the production of raw materials and green chemistry.

To continue decarbonization of the energy sector, it is necessary to increase the share of renewables in the energy supply matrix that is currently 63%, with the remaining 37% still of fossil origin (36% oil and 1% gas). Two-thirds of this oil goes to the supply of the transport sector.

 

Matriz de abastecimiento

Source: BEN Primary supply matrix (year 2019)

Uruguay is interested in the decarbonization of raw materials and chemicals, both for domestic consumption and for export. There is particular interest in the production of green fertilizers as Uruguay and the region is an important center of agricultural production. Also interested in analyzing green steel production, Uruguay has iron deposits that could be used. Also the development of products such as ammonia, methanol, Green diesel (HVO), etc. are of interest to Uruguay.

The incorporation of Green Hydrogen will give Uruguay: industrial, economic and labor development, greater energy independence, decreased vulnerability to oil price volatility and foreign exchange savings.

Green Hydrogen Development Agenda in Uruguay

Uruguay has been analysing the development of Green Hydrogen for a few years both at the public level (inter-agency hydrogen group consisting of: MIEM, ANCAP and UTE), as well as the private sector and the academic/university sector.

The activities that are scheduled for this year 2021 are as follows:

  1. Design of the strategy to develop Green Hydrogen in Uruguay

In 2021 Uruguay will have its strategy of development of Green Hydrogen. We are currently working within the framework of technical cooperation with the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank).

  1. Pilot project H2U

Uruguay has made an aggressive incorporation of renewable energies into the electricity sector. This has resulted in the almost total decarbonization of its electrical matrix in recent years.

As a natural continuity of this process Uruguay is developing actions that allow it to advance the decarbonization of other sectors of the economy (transport and industry). Among the set of measures that have been promoted for this purpose is the development of hydrogen production for the purpose of supplying local demands and eventually their export.

The objective of this initiative is to develop a first pilot of Green Hydrogen operating in Uruguay, based on the articulation of public and private efforts.

As a first stage, the realization of a data room has been defined in order to present the general idea of the project and promote feedback from the different actors involved in the topic, in relation to possible opportunities for improvement that can be made for the realization of the pilot.

The pilot project may be in heavy transport or some other project related to Green Hydrogen (green fertilizer production, green ammonia production as ship fuel or other project related to green hydrogen production). Initially, projects will be left open for the benefits that will be granted

The data room was launched on April 8, 2021 in a 100% virtual format, with more than 600 participants from more than 35 countries from different continents. You can download the presentations in ENGLISH

“In order to participate in the Data Room process, you must:

  1. Read the H2U project Data Room bases found here
  2. Complete the following online form by attaching there:
  1. After the form is submitted, if the requested requirements are met, you will soon receive an email to coordinate the date and time of virtual meeting.”
  2. The deadline for submitting forms expires on Friday, May 14, 2021

h2u

 

  1. Hydrogen Export Assessment from Uruguay

Uruguay has the vision of becoming an exporting country of Hydrogen and products that can be made from Hydrogen. This path is being discussed in conjunction with different countries (Netherlands, Germany, Japan, among others) and public and private institutions.

The MIEM and the port of Rotterdam have developed a first pre-invoicibility analysis on the export of Hydrogen from Uruguay.

  1. Advances and projects for the development of Green Hydrogen in Uruguay

Parallel progress is being made in different areas to develop Green Hydrogen in Uruguay

  1. Development of Green Hydrogen from SDG Fund Funds

Uruguay will receive $10 million of a non-reimbursable nature from the Joint United Nations Fund for sustainable development goals (SDGs), after the proposal submitted by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM) was one of four selected from more than 100 countries. The project is to take actions that initiate the second phase of national energy transition. With 98% of the electricity matrix coming from renewable sources, the next step, which will begin to leverage this fund, will be the transition from the transport and industry sectors to green energy. Hydrogen development is specifically included in this project.

  1. Sectoral Energy Fund (ESF):

As part of the call made by the National Agency for Research and Innovation of the Sectoral Energy Fund (ANII/ESF) a challenge was raised regarding the analysis of the different carriers, including an analysis on the flexibility of producing them with renewables directly.

Link to ESF Challenges: www.anii.org.uy/upcms/files/llamados/documentos/1609341955_desafios-fse.pdf

  1. Technical and economic feasibility analysis of ammonia production and green fertilizers as well as associated logistics

Based on technical cooperation with the IDB, a consultancy will be carried out in 2021 with the aim of conducting an analysis of the technical and economic feasibility of ammonia production and green fertilizers as well as associated logistics.

Source Ministry of Energy and Minerals Uruguay

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