Green hydrogen advances in South and Central America

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Advances in the development of new green hydrogen production plans are being reported out of Bolivia, Peru and Costa Rica.

The three countries add to the growing interest in green hydrogen across the Latin American region in countries including Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay.

From Bolivia, the Minister of Hydrocarbons and Energies, Franklin Molina has reported promoting a strategic plan for the generation of green hydrogen.

Few details of the plan have been released but a statement from the ministry says its aim is to increase the energy potential of Bolivia and contribute to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

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“Within the Bolivian energy plan we have planned the introduction of green hydrogen,” Molina said in a virtual workshop on green hydrogen with local participants and representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank as well the Ad Astra Rocket Company from Costa Rica.

“The construction of an alternative energy centre in which hydrogen is a component has been planned,” he added, noting that the plan also promotes the generation of renewables, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and biomass energy.

H2 Peru formed

In Peru a new association, the Peruvian Hydrogen Association (H2 Peru) has been formed as a non-profit to advance hydrogen development in the country.

The Association, which formally launches on March 16, is being driven by Engie Peru with the vision that green hydrogen can support decarbonisation and that in the longer term the country can become a major producer and exporter.

The Association’s goals for its first two years include developing a space to articulate a national green hydrogen ecosystem, promoting and publicising the roles and benefits of hydrogen, initiating pilot projects and supporting the development of a regulatory framework.

Engie Peru’s Commercial Vice-President Daniel Camác is the President and Gaelle Dupuis, Manager of Institutional Relations, the treasurer and Carlos Diez Canseco, an energy economist, the secretary-general.

Hydrogen market study in Costa Rica

Of the three countries Costa Rica has the longest experience with hydrogen, dating back to 2012 when the local energy and space propulsion company Ad Astra Rocket Company and Costa Rica’s Petroleum Refinery RECOPE initiated the Hydrogen Ecosystem Project.

This initiative was focussed primarily on development of a hydrogen storage system. Other outcomes were the demonstration with Cummins of a generator powered by hydrogen and biogas and the demonstration of fuel cell powered buses.

A project is currently under way with Inter-American Development Bank support with the Costa Rica-United States (Crusa) Foundation for Cooperation and Ad Astra Rocket Company to advance the use of hydrogen in the transport system.

Out of this has emerged the Alliance for Hydrogen as an industry body to advance the use of hydrogen in mobility and the broader economy. Studies are under way on emobility and a hydrogen supply chain and a policy roadmap is planned.

The latest advance at the request of the country’s Ministry of the Environment and Energy is that the IDB and Crusa Foundation collaborate with a (so far unnamed) Belgian company on a national and global green hydrogen market study.

The study is expected to be presented later in the year and is likely to set this Central American country on the path to becoming a player in the global hydrogen market in the coming years.