Chile has produced its first green hydrogen molecule. At the event, President Sebastián Piñera highlighted the looming opportunities. Green hydrogen is expected to become a key energy source.
On Monday, miner Anglo American produced the first green hydrogen molecule (H2V) in Chile at its Las Tórtolas plant in Colina, Metropolitan Region.
The mining industry is especially interested in green hydrogen to power haul trucks, among others. The fuel also holds vast export potential.
President Sebastián Piñera, Juan Carlos Jobet, who heads the mining and energy ministries, and Anglo American’s Chile CEO Aaron Puna participated in the event.
— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) August 23, 2021
Piñera said “this represents a gigantic opportunity for [the] country” as it is a big step toward increased use of clean energy to protect nature and combat climate change.
And Puna added that “Chile has set out to be a world leader in the production of green hydrogen.” Anglo American is convinced the country has “all the attributes to achieve it.”
Green hydrogen is produced from water and with renewable energy. It is obtained through electrolysis, in which a direct electric current is used to drive an otherwise non-spontaneous chemical reaction, breaking down water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen.
Its counterpart, gray hydrogen, is also a sustainable source but produced using fossil fuels.
The H2V Future
H2V promises to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mainly in the mining industry, which currently emits 5.4Mt of CO2 annually. It could also be used in public transport and for household consumption.
But Chile also plans to export H2V at a scale similar to copper. Chile is the world’s biggest copper producer.
Income from H2V exports is expected to reach US$30 billion per year over time. Piñera said the amount would make Chile a top 3 green hydrogen exporter.
Chile is well positioned to achieve this goal. Apart from an accommodating regulatory framework and political will, it hosts abundant renewable resources in the north and south.
Nelson Quiroz is Chile Today´s photographer. He also writes about youth culture and fashion, and often contributes with photo series during marches and protests.