Belgium signs deal with Chile, Germany seduces UAE –

As world leaders announced their climate commitments at COP26, the Port of Antwerp signed a memorandum of understanding with Chile as part of side deals in Glasgow, while Germany launched a charm offensive with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), scheduled for June 25 % global market share of hydrogen by 2030.

Hydrogen is considered essential for the decarbonisation of heavy industries such as steel and plays a crucial role in Europe’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Antwerp aims to become one of the main ports for international hydrogen trade, hoping to supply Belgian industry as well as the European hinterland.

“The forthcoming merger between the port of Antwerp and that of Zeebrugge will give the new port a leading position as a center for the import of green hydrogen molecules.”said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port of Antwerp, in a clip broadcast during the event organized by the port as part of COP26 on Thursday 4 October.

With its significant offshore solar and wind potential, Chile is one of the countries that should export large amounts of renewable hydrogen.

“Green hydrogen is the best way to use these resources and share them with the world”stated Juan Carlos Jobet, Chile’s Minister of Energy, speaking at the event.

However, there are still many challenges to be overcome: Less than 30% of the electricity produced in Chile is renewable, according to the latest monthly report from the Chilean Energy Commission CNE, which puts the share of renewable energy at 25.7% of production.

To enable international hydrogen trading, Infrastructures, ports and logistics are essential‘ Mr Jobet explained. The agreement between Chile and Antwerp is a first step “to put in place the right policies, build a network of collaborative arrangements, and let the private sector operate” he added.

Experts still disagree on whether hydrogen can be transported across continents and remain competitive.

is hydrogen “More difficult to store and transport than LNG”and “Most countries can produce enough cheap hydrogen locally”, explained Gniewomir FlisHydrogen expert in the Agora Energiewende think tank.

Projects between the United Arab Emirates and Germany

There is no lack of interest from the hydrogen trade. Also on Thursday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) presented its “Hydrogen Leadership Roadmap”, which aims to have a 25% share of the global hydrogen market by 2030.

The bucket “Focus on Japan, South Korea and India”stated Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), speaking at the German Pavilion of COP26 on November 4.

But no other country has made the Emirates as appealing as Germany.

Last year, Siemens built the Middle East’s first solar hydrogen plant in Dubai. A joint Emirati-German study on the role of hydrogen in the energy transition was then published in January and a joint working group to strengthen cooperation on green hydrogen between the two countries was announced on November 4.

“The United Arab Emirates have great potential for renewable energies and are therefore a very good cooperation partner in the field of hydrogen and hydrogen-related technologies”explained Andreas Feicht, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, who spoke at the signing of the contract.

For energy-hungry Germany, promoting an international hydrogen economy is not only about securing access to CO2-neutral energy carriers and raw materials, but also about becoming a key player in the emerging global hydrogen supply chain.

“German and European companies are perfectly positioned to produce key components for the value chains of a hydrogen economy”, said Veronika Grimm, economist at the German Hydrogen Council. This is for example “Vehicles, transport solutions, electrolysers and fuel cells”she told EURACTIV.

Germany has great ambitions when it comes to hydrogen trading. In May of this year, it launched the ambitious H2Global initiative, which is being funded with 900 million euros.

“Our goal is to promote a rapid ramp-up of the green hydrogen market and its downstream products” said Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

The H2Global initiative aims to ensure long-term price stability for the emerging hydrogen market. Thanks to a contract for difference, buyers are guaranteed a cheap supply of hydrogen, even if production costs remain high.

With an auction system“The cheapest and most economical provider is awarded the contract and receives purchase guarantees over 10 years”through an intermediary called HINT.CO, explained Markus Exenberger, director of H2Global.

Founded on November 5th in Leipzig, Saxony, the “Hydrogen Intermediary Network Company” (HINT.CO) is H2Global’s tool to close the price gap and match the cheapest hydrogen producers with the most profitable buyers.

“In the best case, there will be no price difference in ten years and HINT.CO will no longer have a right to exist”said Mr. Exenberger.

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