A group including some of Europe’s biggest energy players aims to demonstrate highly efficient and flexible green hydrogen production on an “unprecedented scale” with the deployment of a 100MW electrolyser in Portugal.

Led by local renewables champion EDPR, the GreenH2Atlantic project in Sines also includes Vestas, Engie and Martifer, as well as Portuguese oil & gas group Galp in an effort to hit a levelised cost of hydrogen of €2.87/kg ($3.24/kg) – a level that would make green H2 significantly more competitive in the market than previously.

The €76m project aims to turn a former coal generation site into a ‘hydrogen valley’ showcase for renewable H2, aided by a €30m grant under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Green Deal initiative.

The 100MW electrolyser comprising “innovative, scalable and fast-cycling 8MW modules” will be supplied by French hydrogen specialist McPhy, with the project setting out to test an advanced interface directly coupling it with a hybrid solar and wind plant, hopefully unlocking a host of productivity and efficiency benefits assisted by AI technology.

The partners said they hope to start construction in 2023, with operations beginning in 2025 subject to permitting.

“Green hydrogen is expected to become one of the pillars of economic growth, for it is a decisive energy vector in the decarbonisation process for the main sectors of the economy. This project will enable the transition of a former coal-fired power plant into an innovative renewable hydrogen production hub, in alignment with Europe’s decarbonisation and energy transition strategies.”

Highly efficient production of green hydrogen on industrial scale is seen as crucial to hopes for the fuel to compete with grey hydrogen made using unabated fossil fuels, or blue H2 produced using gas with carbon capture.

The GreenH2Atlantic project claims to have representation from “the full value chain, including European electrolyser manufacturing, green hydrogen production, off-takers from the chemical industry and natural gas grids, power electronics developers, AI energy management system developers, renewable energy providers and electrical grid balancing”.