Energy and Mining Biminister Juan Carlos Jobet announced Chile’s first project to inject hydrogen into gas networks.
Hydrogen injection in gas networks is one of the six priority applications that have been laid out in the National Green Hydrogen Strategy, with which the government is seeking to develop a local market for this fuel.
Gasvalpo’s pilot project, via their Energas brand, will substitute up to 20% of the natural gas currently supplied for green hydrogen. Almost 2,000 families in Coquimbo and La Serena will be the first to benefit.
Furthermore, Minister Jobet announced that the Energy Ministry is revising “the capacity of existing natural gas infrastructure in Chile, as well as international experiences, in order to define the safe implementation of a gradual mechanism of green hydrogen quotas into gas networks.” He added, “We hope to present a bill to this end.”
Minister Jobet explained that “green hydrogen injection will allow us to scale up the domestic industry of this clean fuel. It will reuse existing infrastructure and complement the role of natural gas as a transition energy.”
The adoption of green hydrogen as an energy supply is essential to decarbonizing the energy matrix. According to the Energy Ministry, it could mitigate up to 45% of global CO2 emissions. This is therefore an opportunity to let the community know about it and to promote its development and use in the country, preparing for its roll out when development costs allow.
The project will be monitored by the Universidad de La Serena (ULS) and will progressively increase green hydrogen in the network in stages, until reaching a maximum injection of 20%. In this way, more than 1,800 natural gas users will be able to benefit from a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
“When talking about energy transition and the challenge to guarantee a sustainable future, the adoption of green hydrogen produced through the use of renewable energies will play a very important role. We are now seeing a series of initiatives in Chile and throughout the world that are giving an unprecedented push in the use of this clean energy source, which can be clearly seen in the project we’re announcing. It’s a unique initiative for the country, in which green hydrogen will be injected into natural gas networks, producing significant environmental benefits without users noticing any difference in its use. It could be replicated in the rest of the country, contributing to the decarbonization goals that Chile has fixed,” commented Luis Kipreos, General Manager of Gasvalpo.
Gasvalpo explained that hydrogen has traditionally been produced from fossil fuels for use in industrial processes; however, there is now the possibility to use renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, to carry out this process. In this project, it will be obtained through electrolysis, a method that divides water molecules (H2O) into oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H2), producing the latter without releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decreasing the effects of climate change.
The project will be based on a pilot green hydrogen production plant that the company will install in Coquimbo’s industrial zone. The plant will have an electrolyzer, which will take water and separate hydrogen (H2) from oxygen (O). It will be powered by renewable energies that will come from a local provider. The green hydrogen obtained will be stored to then be injected into natural gas networks in the cities of Coquimbo and La Serena.
It is worth mentioning that users will not notice changes in the use of appliances such as ovens, water heaters and others. Their bills will also not be affected.