Launch of hydrogen platform H2LAC

Wind turbines

Chile has best conditions for the production of emission-free green hydrogen. Photo: Programm 4e GIZ Chile

The world is currently seeking solutions for the full decarbonisation of the industry sectors of energy, transport, steel, chemicals and others. A central role is set to be played by ‘green’ hydrogen here. This is made from water by electrolysis with the help of renewable energy and without CO2 or other greenhouse gases being emitted during production. The market price of green hydrogen will be an important criterion for the future success of this fuel: as of now, hydrogen can be produced more cheaply with the aid of fossil fuels and the associated emission of CO2. The reason for this is the input energy cost, which makes up around 80 percent of the final price of green hydrogen. As such, the first major production facilities need to be sited in countries where electricity can be produced cheaply from renewables.

This is why Chile – a country whose Atacama Desert offers the world’s highest figures for solar radiation per square metre plus major wind potential, especially in Patagonia – is considered a ‘hidden champion’ for green hydrogen. Thanks to the support provided by the two IKI projects “Promotion of solar energy in Chile” and “Decarbonisation of the Chilean energy sector”, implemented by Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), Chile has already been positioning itself as a green hydrogen player and developing key skills and know-how since 2014. As a result, Chile was able to announce its national hydrogen strategy in early November 2020 at the third international Green Hydrogen Summit, which was organised jointly by the Chilean Energy Ministry, CORFO (Chile’s Economic Development Agency) and GIZ, and opened by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.

Chile is the first country in South America with a national hydrogen strategy

As the first South American country to have published a national hydrogen strategy, Chile is now the undisputed pioneer of green hydrogen in the region. The experience and expertise Chile has amassed to date can be used to help other countries to advance the cause of green hydrogen in their own policymaking.

This is why the ‘Programme for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (4e)’ from GIZ Chile (part of IKI’s ‘Decarbonisation of the Chilean energy sector’ project) decided to launch the ‘H2LAC’, so as to encourage active public- and private-sector communication between various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The ultimate goal here is to network industry associations, organisations, government ministries and private enterprise as closely as possible to provide support in implementing hydrogen projects, and therefore drive the development of green hydrogen in the region over the long term.

The platform will also offer users appropriate and relevant information and content such as industry studies and online seminars, all of which will be targeted on national markets. The ‘4e Chile’ programme will initially provide most of the content, since it already has six years of experience in the field. However, GIZ project managers working in climate and energy – who are active in countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Paraguay – have already become involved and will soon be making their contributions available to users of the platform.