Renewables giant Iberdrola has proposed a €1.8bn ($2.1bn) plan together with fertilizer maker Fertiberia that would see the installation of 800MW of green hydrogen production capacity in Spain by 2027, but the pair are seeking funding from the European Recovery Fund to go ahead with the ambitious project.

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To kick-start the hydrogen strategy that would cover a fifth of Spain’s 4GW 2030 green hydrogen target, the two companies will commission a first plant in Puertollano near Ciudad Real, which Iberdrola said will become Europe’s largest green hydrogen complex for industrial use.

Three additional projects would follow between 2023 and 2027 at Fertiberia plants in Puertellano and Palos de la Frontera in Huelva province.

"This great project could turn Spain into the first country to obtain 100% of its ammonia production from green energy sources,” Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said.

"These are ambitious plans that aim to put Europe at the top of the world league of this technology.”

The projects would contribute to the development of an entire value chain, creating almost 4,000 jobs, an industrial hub for the manufacturing of electrolysers in economically-depressed central Spain, and reduce energy dependence and the consumption of fossil fuels.

State support

But Iberdrola made clear that it seeks support from the European Recovery Fund that aims at countering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“To get out of this crisis we need concrete initiatives, which allow us to advance in the much-needed green recovery,” Galan said, adding that he wishes that "this project receives the necessary state and European support to get it up and running and, thus, position Spain and Europe at the vanguard of a new technology that is essential for decarbonisation, leading the way to its full commercial competitiveness.”

The Puertollano green hydrogen project slated to be operational next year will cost €150m. It includes a 100MW solar plant, a 20MWh lithium-ion battery storage system, and a 20MW electrolyser to produce green hydrogen.

The company has submitted an application to the Innovation Fund for European aid.

The green hydrogen produced will be used at Fertiberia’s ammonia plant in Puertollano, which has a production capacity of over 200,000 tons per year.

Fertiberia will adapt its plant to the use of green hydrogen for manufacturing green fertilizers, reducing the needs of natural gas in the plant by more than 10%.

The EU as part of its hydrogen strategy launched earlier this year aims to have 40GW of green hydrogen electrolyser capacity built by 2030, while Spain’s goal is for 4GW of capacity.