Most gigawatt-scale green hydrogen projects that have been announced to date are somewhat speculative, focused more on production than usage — yet without guaranteed off-takers, developers will struggle to raise the necessary finance.
A new 7.4GW renewable H2 project has been announced in Spain that largely solves this problem, by including two major industrial consumers — steel maker ArcelorMittal and fertiliser producer Fertiberia — among the developers.
HyDeal España — the first part of the 67GW HyDeal Ambition project that spans Spain, France and Germany — will use 9.5GW of solar energy to power 7.4GW of electrolysers that will split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. And the 330,000 tonnes of H2 produced each year will be supplied to a new industrial hub in the Asturias region, northern Spain, and bought by ArcelorMittal and Fertiberia (and other companies yet to join the project).
“The direct connection of mass-scale renewable hydrogen production and long-term bankable consumption create enormous value for the system,” said ArcelorMittal in a statement.
HyDeal España, a joint venture between Spanish gas grid operator Enagás, ArcelorMittal, Fertiberia and Spanish project developer DH2 Energy, will begin production of 200,000 tonnes annually by 2026, reaching full capacity by 2030, when it would reduce Spain's annual greenhouse gas emissions by 4%.
“We bring a historic message to all energy users: green hydrogen is not just about small and local expensive projects. It is now a full-fledged commodity, able to compete with coal, oil and natural gas in both costs and volumes, the perfect weapon at scale against the climate crisis and skyrocketing energy prices,” said Thierry Lepercq, the chief executive of DH2, who initiated the HyDeal projects.
“The world has changed in the past six months with the rise in gas and power prices,” he told Bloomberg, adding that the group hopes to secure several billion euros of financing by the summer to cover the costs of the first phase.
Javier Goñi, CEO of Grupo Fertiberia, said: “Based on HyDeal España competitive green hydrogen, the company will invest in a state of the art highly flexible green ammonia plant to cover the needs of our Avilés fertilizer site.
“This strategic development is another step to position Grupo Fertiberia as the fastest and most aggressive crop nutrition company to decarbonize, enabling to build for our clients the greenest product portfolio in the industry.”
ArcelorMittal announced plans last year to revamp its facilities in Gijon, northern Spain, to produce green steel.
Today, most new steel uses highly polluting coal to remove iron from iron ore, but hydrogen can also perform this role. And almost all ammonia-based fertiliser is currently produced by combining nitrogen from the air with hydrogen from unabated natural gas or coal.
“HyDeal España is a strategic alliance for ArcelorMittal which will give it access to the volume of green hydrogen required in order to progress on its roadmap towards the decarbonisation of steel production," said ArcelorMittal Spain chairman José Manuel Arias.
“Thanks to the integration of a group of companies and to the effect of economies of scale, HyDeal España will be able to offer a supply, in competitive conditions, of hydrogen obtained using renewable energy sources, which will be key to enabling us to achieve our 50% CO2 emissions reduction target in our Spanish operations by 2030.”