Green hydrogen, which is still at an early stage, is set to be one of the mainstays of the new renewable energy economy. Unlike other alternatives, such as gray and blue hydrogen, this type of hydrogen production has a zero carbon footprint. One example of this green fuel is the Power to Green Hydrogen Mallorca initiative, a green hydrogen plant that will begin operating in late 2021. The project, set up on grounds owned by the cement company CEMEX, will integrate two photovoltaic power plants built by ACCIONA and an electrolysis system provided by Cummins (formerly Hydrogenics), in partnership with Enagás, IDAE, and CEMEX itself, and with the collaboration of REDEXIS, among others. The initiative is part of the European Union’s FCH-JU (The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking) strategic plan.
Power to Green Hydrogen Mallorca will use solar photovoltaic energy to carry out an electrolysis process that generates oxygen and hydrogen from water. The resulting hydrogen will then be compressed and stored. Among the primary beneficiaries will be the industrial sector and urban mobility, as well as the tourist industry. As pointed out by Belén Linares, ACCIONA’s Director of Energy Innovation, green hydrogen will make a major contribution to energy-intensive sectors such as hotels, industry, and urban transport. It will also reduce the carbon footprint of fertilizer production and allow the storage of energy from photovoltaic panels or wind turbines, thus achieving a stable renewable output. Additionally, as part of the project, a hydrogen fuel station will be installed to supply the Balearic island’s buses, cars, and small vans.
“The Power to Green Hydrogen Mallorca project should reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20,700 tons every year.”
In total, it is estimated that the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions will amount to 20,700 tons per year. “The Power to Green Hydrogen Mallorca project is going to boost many applications of green hydrogen aimed at decarbonizing the Balearic Islands,” explained Rafael Mateo, CEO of ACCIONA Energy.
Blockchain to guarantee energy traceability
Blockchain technologies will also play a prominent role in this commitment to renewable energies. Thus, the project will be complemented with the use of GreenH2chain®, the first blockchain platform in the world that guarantees the traceability of green hydrogen. Companies using this digital system will monitor their decarbonization and have a certification system for their green credentials. Finally, the platform will provide a record of consumption and operating costs.
What is the difference between gray, blue, and green hydrogen?
Although hydrogen is a colorless gas, the way it is produced is color-coded. The most important variants are gray, blue, and green. Firstly, gray hydrogen is based on the transformation of natural gas and, although its use as a fuel does not generate greenhouse gas emissions, production does entail carbon emissions. Secondly, blue hydrogen opts for capturing and storing carbon dioxide, which reduces but does not eliminate emissions. Finally, green hydrogen uses renewable energies in the electrolysis process and therefore does not generate emissions at any stage of its life cycle. For now, the main challenge is to reduce the production cost of green hydrogen to make it a truly renewable alternative. This type of fuel is expected to be competitive by 2030 in terms of production costs, and by 2040 it should cost the same as producing it from fossil fuels.