The ‘Green Hysland’ project to produce hydrogen from solar power on the Balearic Island of Mallorca is the first green H2 project in a Mediterranean country to receive funding as a flagship project in line with the EU’s recently launched Hydrogen Strategy.

The Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) of the European Commission (EC) has selected the project to start negotiations for a €10m ($11.8) EU grant agreement. It would be the second largest grant by this EC body to a green hydrogen project and the largest grant ever offered to a Mediterranean country, Spanish utility Acciona said, which is participating in the project.

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Green Hysland, which is slated to generate, distribute and use at least 300 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, is also part of Spain’s hydrogen roadmap, which aims at ramping up a renewable hydrogen production capcity of 4GW by 2030.

Model for other islands

Acciona hopes the project coordinated by gas distributor Enagás, and promoted together with cement maker Cemex and gas transmission company Redexis, will include business models that can be replicated on other EU islands and beyond.

“Spain is in a position to take advantage of all the potential associated with renewable hydrogen, which will not only be key in achieving climate neutrality, but also represents an interesting lever for generating employment and economic activity,” said Sara Aagesen, Spanish secretary of state for energy.

“Now is the time to go down this path, and projects like this, which are also scalable to other island environments in our country, represent an excellent opportunity.”

Under the initiative, green hydrogen will be used as fuel supply of a fleet of fuel cell buses and fuel cell rental cars, the generation of heat and power for commercial and public buildings, the supply of auxiliary power for ferries and port operations and the creation of a hydrogen refuelling station.

Hydrogen in gas pipeline grid

The €50m project also includes green hydrogen injection into Mallorca’s gas pipeline network through a guarantee of origin system in order to decarbonise the island’s gas supply.

“Projects like Green Hysland are a sign of the importance of coordination and cooperation to advance in the decarbonisation process,” Enagás president Antonio Llardén said.

“Thanks to the 30 entities that are part of the consortium, the entire value chain is represented in the project, which ensures both the deployment of infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and its use in final applications.”

The consortium is made up of 30 partners from 11 different countries (nine from the EU plus Chile and Morocco) form industry, academia and the public sector. Other companies next to Enagás and Acciona participating in the consortium include Gasnam, H2 Chile, HyCologne, the National Centre for Hydrogen (CNH2), the Spanish Hydrogen Association, the Instituto Balears de Energia, Ports de Balears and the Unversitat de Balears.

The estimated duration for the Green Hysland project will be from 2021 to 2025 and will aim to reduce the CO2 emissions of Mallorca up to 20,700 tons per year by the end of the project.

New jobs after Covid slump

It is expected to create a blueprint for so-called ‘hydrogen islands’ to serve as a replication model for five other island territories – Tenerife in Spain, Madeira in Portugal, Aran in Ireland, Ameland in the Netherlands and the Greek Islands.

Following the economic downturn due to the Covid-19 crisis in the tourism sector, the initiative will make an important contribution to boosting the diversification of the economy on Mallorca and create jobs in the fields of green hydrogen and renewables, the regional government hopes.

“It is essential to involve the public sector in these types of projects, which will be key to the economic reconstruction not only for our Autonomous Community but also of the State,” said Juan Pedro Yllanes, minister of energy transition of the Balearic government.

“In addition, this project will not only promote reindustrialization based on renewables, but will also provide knowledge, research and innovation.”