On 8 June 2023, ANCAP, the state-owned Uruguan petroleum product company, announced 4 Billion USD for a new Green Hydrogen and E-Fuel Facility, that will be built 7km north of the western city of Paysandú.
This facility is part of the broader government mission to produce low-cost renewable energy, the country currently generates over 98 percent of all electricity from renewable sources, primarily wind and hydropower.
What is Green Hydrogen?
Green hydrogen is a clean energy source that only emits water vapor and leaves no residue in the air, unlike coal and oil using electrolysis. In this method, an electrical current separates the hydrogen from the oxygen in the water.
What is E-Fuel?
Electrofuels(e-fuels), are a class of synthetic fuels, manufactured using captured carbon dioxide or carbon monoxide, together with hydrogen obtained from sustainable electricity sources such as wind, solar and nuclear power. Examples: e-methane, e-kerosene, and e-methanol.
The fuel produced in this plant will be used for trucks in the country’s forestry industry.
Highly Innovative Fuels Global(HIF Global), a global e-Fuels company that has its own e-Fuel facilities in Chile, US, and Australia, and EMEA( Europe, Middle East, and Africa), backed by World-renowned automobile company Porsche, are working with the Uruguayan government on this project.
Constructions of the plant are to begin by 2024, the 4 Billion USD budget is divided into two investments, 2 Billion USD will be used for green hydrogen and synthetic gasoline production, and another 2 Billion USD will be used for the wind turbines, including transmission lines, which will produce 2GW of wind and solar power, and will power the overall facility.
The facility will contain a 1GW alkaline electrolyzer, plus a CO2 capture.
Uruguay plans to export the produced synthetic gasoline, which can be used in existing petrol vehicles, to other countries.
“The project in Paysandú foresees the production of 180,000 tons per year of e-gasoline from the capture of 710,000 tons per year of CO2 from the combustion of biomass and distillation of cereal ethanol and the production of 100,000 tons of green hydrogen by year,” ANCAP stated in its press release.
Japan’s plan to transition to a “Hydrogen Society”
A similar project by Japan with a much higher budget of $105 Billion was planned by the tech-savvy nation, with a motive to transition into a “hydrogen society,”
The Japanese government aims to reach 12 million tons of Hydrogen energy by 2040, increasing the annual hydrogen supply by six times.
“By setting an ambitious goal we aim to make our plans more predictable and encourage long-term investment in developing a large-scale hydrogen supply and demand,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida stated.