Hydrogen, the fuel of the future that the European Commission is employing to meet its decarbonization targets, has brought Greece’s biggest industrial corporations closer, as they prepare to jointly bid for one of the four projects Brussels will subsidize in the context of the Hydrogen Europe program.
This is the White Dragon project that provides for investments of 2.5 billion euros in electrolytic hydrogen production by means of solar energy from photovoltaic parks with a capacity of 1.5 gigawatts to be installed in Western Macedonia in the context of decarbonization.
The Regional Authority of Western Macedonia is coordinating the project and its members are Public Gas Corporation (DEPA), gas grid operator DESFA, Hellenic Petroleum, Motor Oil, Mytilineos, Terna, Polish company Solaris the Demokritos National Center for Scientific Research and the Center for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH).
The hydrogen produced will be used for district heating, fuel to be exported via the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, and as fuel for large vehicles such as lorries, buses etc.
The application for the Greek project is being prepared and will be submitted in the first half of 2021, in the hope of being one of the four selected for funding by the Commission, which would be vital for the Greek plan’s implementation.
The high cost of electrolytic technology today renders the production of hydrogen through renewable energy sources unsustainable; therefore it would necessitate partnerships to achieve economies of scale and definitely some subsidies.
Sources from DEPA say White Dragon ranks high in the Commission’s short list, as in Brussels there is the view that the monopoly of innovative projects in Northern Europe ought to end, with such plans implemented in the continent’s southeast.
Globally refineries are among the biggest hydrogen consumers, producing it using natural gas, which is 10 times cheaper than using renewable energy sources. Hellenic Petroleum and Motor Oil are participating in White Dragon for the production of “green” hydrogen in the context of their obligation to reduce their environmental footprint, just like all European refineries.