Groundbreaking ceremony for first green hydrogen pilot plant in Magallanes, Chile

  • Sep 11, 2021
  • REVE

AME and Enel are partners in this project, co-developing renewable generation (wind energy) and green hydrogen production.

The groundbreaking for Chile’s first industrial-scale pilot plant for green hydrogen production located in Cabo Negro, north of Punta Arenas, took place today. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Energy and Mining, Juan Carlos Jobet, along with representatives of Enel Green Power Chile, AME, Siemens Energy, Porsche, Enap and Exxon Mobile, and local authorities.

This plant will produce green hydrogen through the process of electrolysis, powered directly by a wind turbine, which captures energy from the abundant wind in the area. This will be the first plant of its kind in the country and one of the largest in the region. It also marks a milestone as it is Enel Green Power’s first project to produce green hydrogen that begins construction globally.

Paolo Pallotti, general manager of Enel Chile, said: “This groundbreaking highlights in a concrete way the progress made in developing a project that shows how it will be possible for companies to achieve their sustainability goals in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize, and that until today were forced to use fossil fuels” He added “with its conditions for developing and promoting renewable energies, Chile is the ideal place for research, development and implementation of new technologies that will contribute to the sustainable development of the country.”

This first industrial-scale pilot project to produce green hydrogen is powered by green energy generated by a 3.4 MW wind turbine and uses a 1.25 MW electrolyzer that will produce green hydrogen from water. This hydrogen will then be used to produce carbon-neutral fuels. The plant is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2022.

In a country with excellent natural resources, Patagonia is known for having some of the best wind power in the world, due to its proximity to Antarctica, as shown in a wind resource study conducted by EGP Chile in recent years. These unique characteristics allow it to have a very stable and almost constant wind regime, enabling the development of wind energy generation projects with very high-capacity factors, which is key for the region to position itself as a development center to produce green hydrogen.

EGP Chile has been involved in the development of green hydrogen for years. Cerro Pabellón, a joint venture between Enel Green Power and ENAP is the first geothermal plant in the country and green hydrogen has already been produced there since 2017. It is used to power the water treatment plant continuously and uninterruptedly and supply some of the demand of the Cerro Pabellón base camp. This solution replaces diesel fuel, which would have been the only option to power this camp that is so far away from urban centers.

The data provided by the electrolyzer, the operation and development of this fuel are today a source for the development of green hydrogen already on an industrial scale, which is beginning to take shape in Punta Arenas.

Enel Green Power®, of the Enel Group, develops and operates renewable energy plants around the world and is present in Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Oceania. World leader in clean energy, with a total capacity of around 49 GW and a generation mix that includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydroelectric energy, Enel Green Power® is at the forefront in the integration of innovative technologies in renewable energy plants.

Enel Chile generates, transmits and distributes energy through its subsidiaries. It is the largest electricity company in the country by installed capacity with more than 7,200 MW of which 4,700 MW are from renewable energies. In distribution, it serves close to 2 million clients in Santiago and through Enel X Chile it also operates in the advanced energy solutions business. Enel Chile is part of the Enel Group, a multinational electricity company and an integrated global operator in the energy, gas and renewable energy sectors.