Enel Bets Big on Green Hydrogen’s PromiseBy Cas Biekmann | Wed, 07/01/2020 - 09:30
As part of its wider plans to produce carbon-free power by the year 2050, Enel, one of the world’s most prolific energy generators and distributors, will launch its own green hydrogen business. Countries targeted so far for the production process are the US, Chile and Spain, Reuters reported based on an interview with Enel’s Head of Global Power Generation, Antonio Cammisecra. The company’s subsidiary Enel Green Power has a significant presence in Mexico.
Green hydrogen can be produced via the electrolysis of water, where electric currents are used to split water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen. Less cleaner forms of hydrogen, called blue and grey hydrogen, feature fossil fuels in the process, meaning they are not 100 percent renewable. Green hydrogen, however, uses renewable energy for its electrolysis. A main advantage of hydrogen is that existing natural gas infrastructure can be used to transport it, adding to its viability and easing its adoption process in many countries. Its versatility is often pointed out as well. Hydrogen can be used for heating, energy storage and transportation. Many different industries stand to benefit from it, including companies producing chemicals, steel and cement or those refining petrol. Automotive experts even hope to adapt the fuel to be used by cars and trucks.
Cammisecra explains that the big pipeline of renewable energy projects the company possesses in various countries, as well as a strong market potential for green hydrogen, are the two main factors anchoring the company’s decision. Enel plans to install electrolyzers next to its wind and solar projects so the hydrogen produced can be sold or be used as a form of energy storage. The goal is to build large electrolyzer plants, with 25 percent of the capacity of the renewable plant. Enel wants to try out the concept using up to three power plants to verify if the business will be successful.
Hydrogen is still a somewhat expensive form of energy generation worldwide, but confidence in the resource is increasing rapidly, reported GreenTech Media. In the EU, hydrogen is championed as a key energy resource for post-COVID-19 economic reactivation plans. It is poised to become an integral part of the trillion US dollar “green deal package,” which is to be published in July 2020. Countries such as Germany and the Netherlands are betting big on hydrogen, as well.