Chile – ambition to be a world leader in green hydrogen


Chile’s National Green Hydrogen Strategy sets out plans to be among the world’s leading producers by 2040.

The strategy from the Ministry of Energy anticipates that Chile could be producing among the lowest cost green hydrogen by 2030 and reach an output of 160Mton annually by 2050.

These figures are based on a renewable energy capacity projected to reach 1,800GW, amounting to 70 times the current installed capacity, with 70% of the grid expected to be renewable-based by 2030.

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Production would be in the two main renewable regions, in the Atacama Desert in the north where some of the most powerful solar radiation is found, and the Magallanes region in the south where the wind power rivals the typical offshore potential.

Over 1,600GW of solar of which about two-thirds is solar PV and one-third concentrated solar power and over 190GW of wind is projected, with a small additional contribution of 6GW from run of river hydro.

“Green hydrogen is a strategic opportunity for Chile. Our country is the ideal place to produce and export green hydrogen and its derivatives, including ammonia, methanol and synthetic fuels,” said Minister of Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet at the launch of the strategy.

“This new industry that will be developed can reach the relevance that the mining sector has in the national economy. In addition, it will help in the process of decarbonising some productive activities, such as mining and agriculture itself.”

Green hydrogen strategy

The strategy drawn up with the input of an advisory board of experts and consultant McKinsey envisages an unveiling in three waves.

The first wave in the period 2020 to 2025 will be a domestic ramp up and preparation for export. In order to build local supply chains and acquire experience, green hydrogen will be deployed in six prioritised applications – oil refineries, ammonia production, mining haul trucks, heavy duty trucks, long distance buses and blending into gas grids.

In the second wave to 2030, the domestic base will be leveraged to scale into export markets. Further expansion as a global supplier of clean fuels will then follow in the third wave after 2030, with future applications for ammonia in shipping and synfuels in aviation seen as among the promising opportunities.

Targets include 5GW of hydrogen electrolysis capacity operating and under development and production of 200kton/year in at least two ‘hydrogen valleys’ by 2025. By 2030, the target is 25GW of electrolysis achieving a price of hydrogen below US$1.50/kg with further reductions to as low as US$0.80/kg by 2050.

To kickstart the strategy a funding round of $50 million will be created for pilot projects to develop experience. The ministry anticipates that over the next two decades up to $200 billion will be invested in green hydrogen and over 100,000 jobs created.

The strategy will be managed by the energy ministry, which intends to form national and international task forces to accelerate the development of projects and attract international investment and consortia.

The strategy will be updated every three years.

Pilot green hydrogen project

Following the launch of the strategy, the first pilot project linked to it also has been launched at the Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción in Biobío in southern Chile.

The first phase will develop a 10kW green hydrogen demonstration plant. This will be fed with wind and solar energy from the University’s 50kW microgrid to produce 0.17kg/h of green hydrogen.

The second phase will follow with projects piloting the use of green hydrogen in mobile and static applications.

UCSC Rector Christian Schmitz says that with its current activities UCSC can be considered to be a sustainable university and to have a cluster of academics who have promoted a strong awareness in the university community.

“The construction of the microgrid is a research pole for electromobility and the future UCSC Energy Centre, which can contribute to the formation of advanced human capital.”