A new multi-sector consortium of 33 companies and organisations, led by Spanish oil giant Repsol, is to invest €3.23bn ($4.4bn) to promote hydrogen technologies and install 500MW of green H2 capacity by 2025 and 2GW by 2030 — half of the Spanish government's 4GW target.

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SHYNE (the Spanish Hydrogen Network) will also build renewable-energy projects to power the electrolysers, promote the use of hydrogen “in all transportation segments” through the production of synthetic fuels and at least 12 new hydrogen filling stations by 2025, while also promoting the use of green H2 in heating and heavy industry.

The project aims to “generate an ecosystem that connects” three planned industrial hydrogen hubs in the Basque region, Catalonia and Murcia; create two new innovation hubs in Madrid and Castile-La Mancha to develop solid-oxide electrolysers and photoelectrocatalysis — a technology that creates H2 directly from solar energy without the need for electrolysers that Repsol plans to make commercially viable by 2030; and build a knowledge management centre in Madrid to coordinate all activity.

In addition to Repsol — which aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 — six companies will be “promoting partners” in the project: Spain’s leading bus company Alsa; engineering company Bosch, which is developing hydrogen boilers; steel company Celsa; Spanish gas grid operator Enagás; Swedish truck maker Scania; and train manufacturer Talgo, which is due to test its first hydrogen-powered train in March.

Scania’s involvement in the project is a little puzzling because exactly a year ago today it apparently announced it was ruling out hydrogen-powered trucks in favour of battery electric vehicles, arguing that fuel-cell vehicles are more complex so would cost more to buy and maintain, would require three times as much renewable electricity to run, and that hydrogen was a volatile gas that raised safety concerns.

But a spokesman for Scania tells Recharge: “We believe that battery electric vehicles will be the best option for customers in basically all segments and in most countries. However, there will be limited cases and markets where hydrogen is still viable. We have fuel cell trucks in customer operations both in Norway and Sweden. The local initiative in Spain is another example.”

Sonie García, director of communication and marketing at Scania Ibérica, added: “This agreement is further proof of Scania’s commitment to drive change towards sustainable transport from different technological fronts. Scania sees green hydrogen as an important player in medium- to long-term electrification.”

The “collaborating partners” in SHYNE include national airline Iberia, passenger ferry company Baleària, power equipment supplier Wärtsilä, local trade associations and eight research institutions and universities.

“The synergies between the companies collaborating in SHYNE will support coordinated industrial developments throughout the hydrogen value chain, maximising investment capacities,” said the Repsol statement.

“This premise will be key to achieving decarbonisation in the most efficient manner and at the lowest cost, mainly in sectors where today electrification is not a solution, such as the steel sector in which Celsa develops its activity, or in transport segments such as aviation and maritime, railway, or heavy long-distance transport, with Iberia, Balearia, Talgo, and Alsa as benchmarks. Thus, the challenge of decarbonization becomes a great opportunity to generate wealth and technological and industrial development in Spain through this new renew-able hydrogen economy.

Repsol says that the €3.23bn project is expected to generate more than 13,000 jobs in Spain.

This article was updated on 20 January to include a response from Scania.