The Basque Hydrogen Corridor (BH2C) held its first meeting on Monday, 8th November, at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
The event was officially opened by the Minister for Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment, Arantxa Tapia, who welcomed the attendees online from Glasgow, where she was attending the COP26 climate summit.
Collaboration for decarbonisation
The Basque Hydrogen Corridor was presented in February and has the support of exceedingly important companies and organisations in the Basque industrial fabric, such as ArcelorMittal, Astilleros Murueta, Bilbao City Council, CAF, CIE Automotive, Energy Cluster, Álava and Bizkaia Provincial Councils, EVE, Garbiker, Idom, Irizar, University of Mondragón, University of the Basque Country, the Basque Technology Parks, Port of Bilbao, Sener, Sidenor, Tecnalia, Tubos Reunidos and others bringing the number to 71 participants.
This project stems from the initiative of Petronor (Repsol) and its strategic decision to invest in energy transition projects in the Basque Country. Its aim is to convert the zone into a hydrogen hub focussed on redirecting the whole Basque industrial ecosystem towards decarbonisation and the green economy.
A cooperative and technological challenge
Jose Ignacio Zudaire, president of the BH2C, outlined the association’s core lines at this first meeting.
He explained that creation of the association has highlighted “the firm commitment of companies and organisations to make progress in decarbonisation, using hydrogen as an energy vector.” Zudaire also stressed the need to cooperate in tackling the challenge and with the help of technology.
According to Zudaire, “energy transition will only be sustainable if, together with the challenge of decarbonisation, we address the commitment to maintain the weight of the industry in the GDP.” Here he stated that “the Basque Country must make a firm commitment to leading the sector” as it has done in the past in the steel, machine-tool, automotive and renewable energies sectors.
To give an idea of the extent of the initiative, it is estimated that the BH2C will generate more than 1,340 direct and 6,700 indirect jobs. It will also promote projects related with the following sectors:
- Production of green hydrogen and other synthetic fuels.
- Mobility and logistics.
- Industrial decarbonisation.
- Urban and residential uses.
- Technological development of industry.
Bilogistik will focus its participation in the field of distribution mobility and logistics, providing the project with two hydrogen tractor units for transporting products from the Petronor refinery. As signatories of the BH2C, we were present at this promising opening meeting, cornerstone of the foundations for the green restructuring of Basque industry.
Hydrogen for a climate neutral Europe
Hydrogen will be key on the path to achieving a climate-neutral Europe under the umbrella of the European Green Deal. The point is that green transition of the union economy must be backed by the consumption of safe and affordable emission-free energy, such as hydrogen.
Hydrogen currently plays a tiny part in Europe’s energy supply, only representing 2% of the EU energy mix. What’s worse, the immense majority of this amount is produced using fossil fuels, meaning that it continues to generate CO2. This is why the intention is now to promote green hydrogen coming from renewable sources.
Some studies say that this green hydrogen could represent up to 20% of the European energy mix by 2050, especially applied to the transport and industry sectors.
Among the advantages of hydrogen on Europe’s energy target they stress that:
- It does not generate greenhouse gases when used for energy purposes.
- It can be used to produce other liquid gases and fuels.
- It can use the existing infrastructure for gas storage and transport.
- Its high energy density makes it an excellent option for heavy goods and long-distance transport.