Chile Goes Big on Hydrogen with Projects Worth $12bn

‘Chile’s economic development agency reports that investors have lined up 18 hydrogen projects for government approval this year itself.

Chile’s economic development agency has reported that the country is poised to approve projects to produce green hydrogen worth up to $12bn this year. Investors have lined up 18 projects which range from producing ammonia, methanol and synthetic fuels from green hydrogen to using the element to generate energy and heat. CORFO, Chile’s economic development agency released this information following data they received after filing a Request for Information (RFI) in October last year. The agency’s CEO, Pablo Terrazas said: “We want to accelerate the development of green hydrogen in our country and this RFI, together with many other initiatives we are undertaking in the sector, is key to outline the map of interests of the private sector.”

In its announcement, CORFO stated that the Atacama Desert (located in North Chile) was a popular site for renewable energy projects, particularly those involved in producing green hydrogen. The Atacama Desert is one of the world’s driest and hottest deserts, making it an excellent site for a wide variety of renewable energy projects. Recognizing its unique potential, the Chilean government has allocated 12,000 hectares of the desert for hydrogen projects alone.

CORFO confirmed that of the 18 projects requesting approval, 11 were directly involved in producing green hydrogen for use as a fuel-alternative to oil and gas. The Chilean government is hoping that its investment in green hydrogen projects will help the country to build back better from the pandemic’s steep impact on its economy. It is estimated that over a million Chilean citizens lost their jobs last year, causing the economy to shrink by almost 6%.

Chile has set itself an ambitious target of becoming the producer of the world’s cheapest green hydrogen. It aims to develop a capacity of at least 25GW electrolysis by 2030, and have up to 5,000GW in development or active operation by 2025. Given its matchless renewable resources, Chile expects to be a major player in the emerging green hydrogen market in the coming years.