• Green hydrogen plants planned in Portugal and China

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Portugal is planning a solar-powered hydrogen production plant near the southern port of Sines, as the government seeks to boost its green economy for a post-COVID-19 future. Construction is to begin as early as next year on the plant, with production of green hydrogen to commence perhaps by 2023. By 2030, Environment Minister Joao Matos Fernandes told Reuters the aim is “for one gigawatt”, but it is unclear if that is the solar power generation capacity that would be used to produce hydrogen, or a parameter related to the output of hydrogen. The Environment Minister suggested that the project could attract up to €5 billion (US$5.48 billion) in investment, with interest being shown by the Dutch government, Energias de Portugal and Portuguese oil group Galp Energia. There has been much talk of the COVID-19 crisis leading to intensified efforts across the world for a greener economy (for example as 30 climate ministers from around the world agreed such an approach at the 11th Petersberg Climate Dialogue late last month), and the Portuguese government’s language clearly supports such ideas, though one suspects that a major project like this would have been longer in the planning than the crisis itself.

Meanwhile, Chinese coal miner Baofeng Energy has announced it will commence construction of its own solar-powered hydrogen plant, also using electrolysis, which could become the world’s largest. The US$199 million (€184 million) plant is to be completed this year, with construction to start next month, and when complete, it is to generate 160 million cubic metres of hydrogen and 80 million cubic metres of oxygen per year through 10,000 m3/hr electrolyzers powered by two 100 MW solar plants. Baofeng says that the plant could be the largest of its type in the world when completed, though judging by the news from Portugal, that crown may not last terribly long – but that is a good news for a nascent industry.