This initiative is included in the Development Plan as a strategic measure. Ecopetrol told EL HERALDO that it is “assessing opportunities to build a portfolio.”
The conditions are in place. The national government has reaffirmed its commitment to decarbonizing the economy to support the energy transition. One of the strategies to advance in this process is the consolidation of projects that promote the green hydrogen route.
In the context of this situation, the project for the construction of a superport is born, which will enable the development of green hydrogen and is included in the National Development Plan, defined as strategic.
This was confirmed by Representative Dolcey Torres, who, in an interview with EL HERALDO, stated that the main objective of this initiative is for Barranquilla and the Caribbean region to become the epicenter of green hydrogen production and exportation in Colombia.
According to the initial approaches, this mega-project would be located at Bocas de Ceniza and would achieve a deep-water port with a dual condition: maritime and riverine. This would be the epicenter of an unprecedented regional multimodal port system that would integrate the satellite ports of the Colombian Caribbean.
The capital of Atlántico was selected for the development of this super port taking into account the following conditions: geographical location, which allows for the construction of a deep-water port; access to river water, which serves as the raw material for hydrogen production and represents savings by not having to desalinate seawater; the strong winds, as they allow for the development of a wind energy project, access to the Caribbean Sea, and proximity to the Panama Canal.
The value chain
Green hydrogen is one of the relevant renewable energy sources to be integrated into the energy matrix within the roadmap of the country’s transition. According to Amylkar Acosta, economist and former Minister of Mines and Energy, the Caribbean region has the greatest potential in the country for its production.
Acosta emphasized that green hydrogen is vital for decarbonizing the economy, as it does not give rise to greenhouse gas emissions.
He also indicated that green hydrogen constitutes an element for the production chain, considering that it can be used – for example – for the production of ammonia, a raw material for fertilizers.
“There comes into play a very important company for these purposes, which is Monómeros, located in Barranquilla, with its port component. This makes one think of the possibilities that the city has to become an energy conglomerate where this entire value chain is leveraged,” he asserted.
After a series of agreements with Germany for the production of green hydrogen, President Gustavo Petro stated that the state-owned company Ecopetrol will become a “major” producer.
“We are ready for agreements with Germany to produce green hydrogen. (…) Ecopetrol must become the major producer in Latin America,” mentioned the head of state.
In response to the president’s announcement, Ecopetrol informed EL HERALDO that it is making progress in building a portfolio of projects that contribute to the development of the hydrogen plan.
They also explained that they have been working on energy transition initiatives for over 5 years, which are part of the ‘Energy that Transforms’ strategy envisioned for the year 2040 and that “comprehensively addresses current and future challenges in technology, environment, social, and governance matters.”
Ecopetrol also indicated that in 2021 it contributed to the development of the hydrogen roadmap in Colombia, while designing its strategic plan for low-emission hydrogen development.
“The company aims to produce one million tons of low-emission hydrogen by 2040, with the goal of serving the local market and exporting to other countries. To achieve this, investments of around US$2.5 billion by 2040 are estimated,” it stated.
Ecopetrol is evaluating opportunities to build a portfolio of projects that contribute to the development of the hydrogen plan.
Ecopetrol’s hydrogen plan has three horizons. The first one focuses on this decade and centers on the expansion of hydrogen in its own operations, with industrial-scale projects and the introduction of applications in sustainable mobility with cars and buses.
The second horizon, from 2030 to 2040, aims to capture and materialize significant results in decarbonizing operations, diversifying into hydrogen-powered maritime and aviation mobility, and exploring new business opportunities in the European and Asian markets.
The third horizon, starting from 2040 onwards, is focused on mass adoption of hydrogen usage and portfolio expansion.
The executive president of the Atlantic Intergremial Committee, Efraín Cepeda Tarud, stated that it is clear that the Caribbean has the potential to be a relevant player in the production and export of green hydrogen due to the climatic conditions, the available surface for the installation of renewable plants and electrolyzers, as well as its geostrategic location.
In his opinion, in order to progress with this plan, it is necessary to enable and adapt port infrastructures. He highlighted that Barranquilla meets the conditions to be considered as a natural scenario for this superport due to the advantages it offers and because securing that cargo facilitates the viability of the maritime port zone.
“Here, we have enough space for its construction, understanding that this involves transformation and storage processes, as well as transportation by ship in the form of liquid hydrogen or through carriers such as ammonia, methanol, and liquid organic carriers,” he added.
On the other hand, Lucas Ariza, director of Asoportuaria, stated that Barranquilla can be a hub for the manufacturing and export of green hydrogen.
“I believe we should learn more about the plan; however, it seems to make sense, especially because the world has been discussing hydrogen-related topics, and Colombia has great potential to be a supplier,” he emphasized.
Endorsement for the deepwater port
Barranquilla received an endorsement from the national government, through the Ministry of Transport, with the approval of the deepwater port project.
The Minister of Transport, Guillermo Reyes, confirmed its construction during the signing ceremony of the dredging contract in the next six months.
A green, gradual, and balanced path
The energy transition poses the challenge of shaping a new energy matrix with a greater share of unconventional renewable sources.
It is the path to decarbonizing the economy through green production with zero emissions and enabling the creation of high-quality formal jobs.
SOURCE: EL HERALDO
Translation by: Catherine Lafaurie.
Main Image caption: “Bocas de Ceniza would be the ideal location for the Green Hydrogen superport. – Josefina Villarreal.
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