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The Hydrogen Stream: International alliances for hydrogen keep proliferating

This week, Russia joined forces with the United Arab Emirates to develop common hydrogen projects and similar moves were made by Chile and South Korea, Japan and Australia, as well as by France and Germany. French President Emmanuel Macron announced €2 billion in new investments.

The UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade to enhance industrial cooperation in the production and use of hydrogen technology and fuel “in a way that supports its manufacturing, storage and transportation, and the development of technologies and industrial standards,” the UAE ministry tweeted on Thursday. Russia is also coordinating its energy policies with China. On Wednesday, the Russian-Chinese Intergovernmental Commission on Energy Cooperation held its 18th meeting. “In discussing the power supply system, the countries agreed to maintain the steady operations of Russia-China cross-border power transmission lines and to develop power engineering,” the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade wrote on Wednesday. “They also supported further cooperation in promoting RES, the hydroelectric power industry and hydrogen energy. They discussed separately the development of China’s nuclear industry with the use of Russian technology.” Representatives from the two countries will meet again on November 29 to discuss energy matters. According to S&P Global, Russia plans to spend over Rb9 billion, equivalent to around $124 million (€106.54 million), on hydrogen projects over the next three years.

Chile and Korea signed an MoU for the development of green hydrogen on Tuesday. “The two countries will share experiences and knowledge to promote the deployment of technologies for the production, storage, transportation, distribution and use of green hydrogen,” the Energy Ministry wrote on its website. It is the second hydrogen-focused MoU that Chile signs with Asia after an agreement with Singapore in March. Chile is also in talks with Japan.

France and Germany coordinated on energy policies during the Franco-German Energy Forum on Thursday. The message was that the two countries will continue with their different energy policies: Germany will focus on hydrogen imports, and France will make fresh investments in nuclear, which could be then used for hydrogen production. French President Emmanuel Macron also announced additional investments in hydrogen (nearly €2 billion). “Presented by the president of the Republic on October 12, the France 2030 investment plan must support the transition in our sectors of excellence. Within this framework, France has put in place a strategy for low-carbon hydrogen with a budget of €7 billion, which France 2030 will accelerate by adding nearly €2 billion,” the Élysée wrote on Tuesday. The pledge was made by the French president during a visit at electrolyzer and fuel cell technologies company Genvia. According to Macron, France can produce hydrogen “on our soil much more massively than many others.” Also this week, Macron spoke with Russia’s Vladimir Putin about Belarus, Ukraine, and Libya.

German energy company RWE confirmed it will be making a series of investments in hydrogen. Commenting on the 2030 investment plan, CEO Markus Krebber said that “there is no way around hydrogen.” The company is investing €50 billion in offshore and onshore wind, solar, batteries, flexible generation, and hydrogen. “The company is thus expanding its portfolio by 25 gigawatts net to 50 gigawatts (GW) in the attractive markets of Europe, North America, and the Asia-Pacific Region,” RWE wrote on Monday, adding that the company also “plans to open up new business opportunities in the areas of hydrogen and ammonia importing, in order to supply industry in Europe.” Earlier this month, RWE Generation SE and Shell New Energies NL BV said they would team up to develop projects for the production, use, and distribution of green hydrogen in northwest Europe. RWE is taking advantage of financial opportunities and low interest rates. “RWE has successfully issued a further green bond with a total volume of €1.35 billion,” the company wrote on Wednesday, adding that the first tranche is based on a coupon of 0.5% p.a. (tenor until 2028); the second tranche on a coupon of 1.0% p.a. (tenor until 2033). On Thursday, RWE announced that it was conducting research to test technologies for CO2-free steel production. The energy company will work with CO2GRAB, LSF and BENTELER Steel/Tube, banking on public investments. The state of Lower Saxony has agreed to provide €3 million of funding to the CO2GRAB start-up, RWE noted. “In 2022, the pioneering demonstration project for a green hydrogen direct reduction plant is to be built on RWE’s Lingen power plant site,” it added.

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Japanese trading company Marubeni Corporation’s green hydrogen production project in South Australia has been chosen by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment (MOEJ) as a pilot under a program aimed at accelerating the introduction of hydrogen to the Indo-Pacific region. South Australia Energy Minister Dan Van Holst Pellekaan said Marubeni had chosen the region as its preferred location due to the state’s high-quality natural resources and developed infrastructure. Earlier this year, Marubeni announced it was teaming up with Australian-based oil and gas producer Woodside and fellow Japanese company IHI Corporation to investigate green hydrogen production options, mostly from hydropower in Tasmania.

“Gas distribution grids need to prepare for a disruptive end to their business model,” wrote German think tank Agora Energiewende in its “12 Insights on Hydrogen.” The report published earlier this week suggests that Europe could face difficulties installing additional capacity for electrolysis, which makes imports a top priority for the role of hydrogen for climate neutrality. “Europe has enough green hydrogen potential to satisfy its demand but needs to manage two challenges: acceptance and location of renewables, as each GW of electrolysis must come with 1-4 GW of additional renewables. To keep industry competitive, the EU should therefore access cheap hydrogen (green and near-zero carbon) from its neighbours via pipelines, reducing transport cost. Imports from a global market will focus on renewable hydrogen-based synthetic fuels,” reads one of the key findings of the work signed by Patrick Graichen, executive director of Agora Energiewende, and Frank Peter, director of Agora Industry. The report also calls for targeted policy instruments for industry, power, shipping, and aviation.

The European Union announced on Tuesday €1.1 billion of investments in seven large-scale projects under the Innovation Fund. Three of them are related to hydrogen. “A project in Sweden aims to entirely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from steel production by using renewable hydrogen in Gällivare and Oxelösund,” the European Commission wrote on its website. “Another project, in Finland, will demonstrate two ways of producing clean hydrogen at a refinery in Porvoo, through renewable energy and by capturing CO2 and permanently storing it in the North Sea. … To reduce the emissions in the production of hydrogen and chemicals, a project in Belgium will develop a complete carbon capture, transport and storage value chain in the Port of Antwerp.”

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Source: pv magazine