If anyone there still suspects that green hydrogen plays a leading role in the sustainable economy of the future, the Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for Economic Diplomacy has just told them to wake up and smell the coffee. Even as Russia continues its murderous rampage, Ukraine has devised a green hydrogen plan to justify EU membership. It’s a game, skeptics.
Ukraine is making a case of green hydrogen
Ukraine’s green hydrogen plan is in line with its efforts to show that it can join the European Union not as a nation in need of rescue, but as a nation that can stand on its own two feet and make a key contribution to the EU economy.
Special Representative Oleksandr Riepkin set out the case in a text published in Euro News On June 17, citing a plan on green hydrogen that was being drafted several months before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked attack on the nation.
“Ukraine has everything it takes to become a successful European player in the hydrogen market – and an important energy supplier for the EU,” he wrote.
It is obvious that the plan is to use Ukraine’s solar energy resources to start electrolysis systems, which push hydrogen out of the water with electricity. Wind energy is another new way.
“The cities of Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv, Odessa and Kherson get as much or more sun than central Italy,” Riepkin added. “Only thanks to these regions, Ukraine would be able to provide enough green hydrogen for both domestic and European needs.
Ukraine already has green hydrogen up its sleeve
Despite long-standing skepticism about the hydrogen market, Ukraine has already set in motion.
“Potential evaluation studies have been conducted and we can already say with certainty that the Odessa region could produce up to 3 GW of green hydrogen. “Danube; The project, which was planned before the war, will build several plants for the production of hydrogen for export to the EU in Lviv and Odessa, “Riepkin said.
Riepkin’s case is based in part on the proposed “Ukrainian Hydrogen Valley”, presented in the 2020 report. The European Union and Germany in the period from 2022 to 2050 “, the report predicts.
A roadmap on green hydrogen produced last year similarly noticed this “Development renewable hydrogen projects could represent a significant investment opportunity in Ukraine. Not only that whether Ukraine enjoys some of the most abundant renewable resources in Europe, but it is a country most in need of new and clean forms of energy to support economic development.“
Recently, earlier this spring, our friends were in SP Global He noted that “Ukraine was a prominent place in the EU’s plans to import hydrogen before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with the EU listing Ukraine as a ‘priority partner’ in its hydrogen strategy published in 2020.”
SP Global described two cross-border projects already under preparation: the Green Hydrogen @ Blue Danube scheme, which envisions hydrogen production and transport along the river, with imports into Germany, and the Central European Hydrogen Corridor (CEHC), which would send hydrogen from Ukraine to Germany dedicated pipelines through Slovakia and the Czech Republic. ”
But what does that mean?
All these activities shed another light on the motivation behind Russia’s bloody rampage through Ukraine.
As some have suggested, it is reasonable to assume that Putin aims to keep the vast reserves of fossil gas that lie unused beneath the surface of the Donbas region, while strengthening Russia’s control over global food supplies.
The invasion could be aimed at crippling Ukraine’s ability to follow its green hydrogen plans, perpetuating the EU’s dependence on Russian gas, while making it harder for Ukraine to present its argument for joining the EU.
And, that’s a really good case. It is no secret that the EU relies on green hydrogen as an effective way to decarbonise. Over the past few years, the EU has become a hotbed for green hydrogen activities, with Shell and other global oil and gas stakeholders at the forefront.
If Putin and his planners are aware of the EU’s interest in Ukraine’s renewable resources, it is logical that they would like to bring down Ukraine’s green hydrogen industry before it has a chance to start.
More green hydrogen for the EU
The war in Ukraine is far from over, but Putin seems to have bitten off more than he can live with. Riepkin’s writing indicates that green hydrogen planners in the EU and Ukraine are determined to continue where they left off.
This could take some time as the war drags on, but other stakeholders could step in to lift the stalemate until Ukraine gains speed.
Sustainable H2 hubs are in the proposal phase across the U.S., from the seemingly amazing state of Texas to an ambitious three-state project involving two former field rivals – New York and New Jersey – along with Connecticut. Everything else is the same, green hydrogen activity in the US could help free up more natural gas for export to the EU. This is not particularly great news from the perspective of climate measures, but it could help the EU get rid of Russian gas until there are enough renewable energy sources on the market.
Let’s talk about “pure” H2
For all activities being developed in the field of hydrogen renewables, fossil energy stakeholders are determined to set aside space for themselves as global hydrogen demand grows, and still have some key policy makers on their side.
Here in the US, for example, a new initiative for the Ministry of Energy’s hydrogen hub involves extracting natural gas, which is still the primary source of global hydrogen supply (coal and biomass / biogas replenish to a lesser extent, along with hydrogen from industrial waste gas) .
Still, green hydrogen stakeholder pressure could undermine those plans. After all, the point of producing hydrogen is to sell it, and if no one buys what you sell, then you are in trouble. The hydrogen market is now dominated by fossil sources, but green hydrogen provides steelmakers and other H2 customers with alternative sources that attract customers and buyers who want the most sustainable profit for money.
In the latest example of a sustainable H2 trend in action, last month, leading energy company Ibderola celebrated the commissioning of a new green hydrogen hub in Spain, which uses a renewable energy-powered water electrolysis system.
“It is the largest facility of its kind for industrial use in Europe, and it is also the largest factory currently operating in the world,” said Ibderola, adding that this facility could make Spain a benchmark in the production and development of this new energy vector. which would make a decisive contribution to the decarbonisation of sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as fertilizers, the high-temperature industry and heavy transport. “
For the record, the Green Hydrogen @ Blue Danube project is under the auspices of the Austrian company Verbund. The two-phase project is designed to start green hydrogen production in Austria and Bavaria, probably using the company’s hydropower, before expanding to Southeast Europe, taking advantage of the Danube transport corridor to overcome transmission bottlenecks in Austria and Germany.
The website of the Ukrainian Hydrogen Council has been updated since June 20 with more details about the Blue Danube and sustainable H2 projects.
Follow me on twitter @TinaMCasey.
Image: courtesy of Verbund.
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