Iberdrola leads the Atmosphere consortium with the participation of Ingeteam, Inerco, ABC Compressors, IDESA and Innomerics, whose main objective will be to research new technologies associated with critical equipment for green hydrogen generation plants, covering the entire value chain, so as to enable a significant reduction in investment costs and the operation and maintenance of these plants. Iberdrola's Puertollano (Ciudad Real) plant, one of the largest hydrogen production systems in the world (20 MW), will be used to validate the developments carried out in the project.
The initiative, which will be carried out between 2022 and 2025, has a total budget of 6.2 million euros earmarked entirely for research, is part of the Missions programme of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), an agency of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and has secured funding of 4.1 million euros. The project represents the public-private commitment to promote a collaborative R&D&I scheme that accelerates the fulfilment of the energy transition objectives. It also highlights the need to promote a safe, efficient and clean energy for the 21st century, such as green hydrogen. The public-private commitment is satisfied with the participation of seven public research organisations (PROs), including technology centres and universities, such as: TECNALIA, IIT Comillas, the Idonial Foundation, the Public University of Navarra (UPNA), the Andalusian Association for Research and Industrial Cooperation (AICIA), the CEIT Technology Centre Association and IDESA Technology & Research Centre.
Throughout this project, research on different technologies and elements associated with green hydrogen will allow progress to be made in the decarbonisation of industry, as established as a priority objective of the Green Hydrogen Roadmap in Spain.
On February 15, 2023, the project launch meeting was held at Iberdrola's Training Campus in San Agustin de Guadalix, with the participation of all the partners and IPOs involved in the project, and which established the starting point for the development of the project.
In its commitment to lead the energy transition, as it did with renewables more than 20 years ago, Iberdrola has become a "first mover" in this new technological challenge that involves the production and supply of green hydrogen, and is leading its development with more than 60 projects in eight countries and alliances with more than 150 SMEs and large companies.
The company's objective is to reach 350,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen production per year by 2030. To this end, it has a portfolio of more than 2,000 MW in different regions, mainly in Spain, the United States and Australia.
Iberdrola currently has two of the three green hydrogen plants in Spain. One in Barcelona and the other in Puertollano. Both have just been recognised with the "AENOR Renewable Hydrogen Verification" seal. Iberdrola has thus become the first company to obtain this qualification from the certification body.
The Barcelona plant is the first hydrogen generation plant for public and commercial use to supply green hydrogen in Spain. It occupies 5,000 m2 in the Zona Franca industrial estate in the city of Barcelona, near the port and airport, and is the cornerstone of an ecosystem of companies and infrastructures dedicated to green H2 to decarbonise heavy transport and industrial activities. It is operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For its part, with 20 MW built, the Puertollano plant is the largest H2 plant in Europe. Connected directly to a 100 MW PV plant nearby and to the grid, it has the capacity to produce up to 3,000 t/year. Iberdrola's objective is to develop the value chain of one hundred percent green hydrogen, i.e. without any CO2 emissions, and to concentrate in the industrial hub of Huelva, specifically in the town of Palos de la Frontera, the largest hub in Spain in the production, transformation and consumption of green hydrogen, with the clear objective of decarbonising industry and heavy transport.
The use of green hydrogen should be focused on applications where there are no other alternatives. In other words, for the replacement of grey hydrogen (produced from fossil fuels) with green hydrogen (produced from renewables) in sectors where it is currently used, such as fertilisers, methanol or refineries. In short, for industrial uses and to reach those sectors where electrification is not sufficient.