First major green hydrogen project overlooks Catalonia

Aragon wins the plan driven by CIP, Naturgy, Enagás, Fertiberia and Vestas thanks to its renewables and political support

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The pending renewables bill

BarcelonaAragon has managed to capture one of the largest green hydrogen projects in Spain thanks to the development of renewables in the region. The project will be eligible for support from European recovery funds through the PERTE for renewable energy, renewable hydrogen and storage.

This green hydrogen project is being promoted by the Catalan company Naturgy together with Enagás, Fertiberia and Vestas, which has been joined by the Danish fund Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). Although the necessary investment has not yet been quantified, it is estimated that it will allow the creation of 5,000 jobs and save the emission of one million tons of CO₂ per year in the first phase and up to 2.5 million when it is fully built, the annual equivalent to the electricity consumption of nearly two million families.

The project, baptised Catalina, "will connect Aragon's excellent renewable resources", according to its promoters, with the industrial hydrogen consumption centres of the Valencian Country. Once completed, this project will have 5 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar photovoltaic power from Aragon to supply an electrolyser. The production capacity would cover 30% of Spain's current hydrogen demand.

But the Catalina project goes further. The idea is to connect this hydrogen production centre in Aragon with Fertiberia's plant in Sagunto to produce 200,000 tons of green ammonia per year in a newly built plant. The ammonia will be used to produce sustainable fertilisers to decarbonise the agricultural sector.

In addition, the green hydrogen produced in Aragon can be injected into the natural gas grid –permission has already been requested to do so in Andorra (Teruel)– to supply other industries. This will have a major impact on the area, where the economy has been badly affected by the closure of Endesa's coal-fired power plant.

So far, the members of the consortium have signed the collaboration agreement, but it has not yet been established what participation each partner will have and what final investment they will have to make. CIP partner Søreno Tofgard has highlighted Aragon's excellent renewable resources for this project, as well as "the political support" and the proximity of "demand centers".

PERTE call for proposals

The project has been unveiled on the same day that the Spanish government announced that it intends to mobilise over €24.6bn from the recovery plan during the first half of this year. The Spanish government has added a section to the website of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan launched to counter the impact of the pandemic, in which it will provide information on the calls for projects for the next six months. The aim is that citizens and companies have information on how the funds of the recovery plan will be channelled and can identify the tenders in time.

Thus, for the first time there will be a calendar that will include all the calls for tenders. Among those that are expected to be included in the first half of the year is the renewable hydrogen value chain, for which the Catalina project is bidding.