The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) has informed the start of a green hydrogen pilot project aimed at producing electricity, its goal is to become less dependent on natural gas and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The information was reported by Manuel Hornelas, Chief of the Energy Saving Program of the state-owned company during one of the sessions of the Open Parliament where the electric reform is presently being discussed. It is the first time Mexico will be producing hydrogen through a state-owned company.
"The green hydrogen pilot project will allow CFE to draw the roadmap for its incorporation into the hydrogen economy," said the press release published by CFE. Currently, CFE is highly dependent on natural gas imports for the production of electricity, since more than 50 percent of the electricity production in the National Electric System is done through combined cycle power plants that use natural gas as its primary fuel. The company also mentioned that "it has equipment in its power plants with possibilities of using up to 20 percent of green hydrogen as fuel in mixture with natural water."
According to a CFE’s analysis, Mexico has optimal geographical and climatic conditions to produce green hydrogen from solar energy at a lower cost. The development process of the Green Hydrogen Pilot Project is interposed in at least two locations where the necessary inputs for the production and subsequent application in combustion technologies exist, contemplating the necessary auxiliary equipment for its safe handling. Among these locations is the photovoltaic park in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, which is currently under construction. The CFE will collaborate with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Electricity and Clean Energy Institute (INEEL) throughout this project.
Last year, the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) estimated in a study the opportunities for incorporating green hydrogen into CFE natural gas projects. The study notes the greatest opportunities are found in hydrogen-fueled thermal power plants to feed the equivalent of nearly 670 megawatts of thermal power plants, with a mix of conventional gas or fuel oil-fired steam plants, combined cycle gas turbines with green hydrogen by 2050.
Israel Hurtado, president of the Mexican Hydrogen Association (AMH2) applauded the Green Hydrogen Pilot Project promoted by the CFE and offered the experience, technology, and knowledge of its associates for the project's development. "It is positive that the CFE recognizes that Mexico has the geographical and climatic conditions to produce green hydrogen from solar energy with low costs worldwide; and that it considers it ideal to integrate electrolysis for the generation of green hydrogen to photovoltaic energy projects." He also highlighted that the initiative contributes to decarbonization and the fight against Climate Change aligned to fulfil the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030.