Lightsource bp to partner with Dourogas on green hydrogen projects in Portugal

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Solar business Lightsource bp is to partner with Portugal’s Dourogas on a number of projects centered around green hydrogen production.

In a statement Thursday, Lightsource bp — which oil and gas giant BP has a 50% stake in — said the partnership would see the two firms “explore the potential of eight green hydrogen sites.”

The idea behind the collaboration is that solar facilities from Lightsource bp will be used to power electrolyzers Dourogas has developed.

Green hydrogen produced by the partnership is to be “injected directly” into the Portuguese gas grid, Lightsource bp said.

The collaboration’s first project has benefited from a 5 million euro grant ($5.65 million) from the European Union’s Portugal 2020 fund.

Hydrogen, which has a diverse range of applications, can be produced in a number of ways.

One method includes using electrolysis, with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source, such as wind or solar, then some call it “green” or “renewable” hydrogen.

“We’ve always believed in solar as a vital tool in decarbonisation,” Miguel Lobo, who is country head for Lightsource bp in Portugal, said in a statement.

“When used to generate green hydrogen, it becomes an entire energy transition toolkit.”

“The clean energy locked into these hydrogen molecules can immediately cut the footprint of industries, heavy transport and heat in ways electricity alone cannot,” he added.

The notion of integrating hydrogen with existing infrastructure is starting to gain some traction.

Back in July, Marco Alvera, the CEO of Italian firm Snam, outlined a vision for the future of hydrogen, saying the “beauty” of it was that it could be easily stored and transported.

Speaking to CNBC, he spoke about how current systems would be used to facilitate the delivery of hydrogen produced using renewable sources as well as biofuels.

“Right now, if you turn on your heater in Italy the gas is flowing from Russia, all the way from Siberia, in pipelines,” he said.

“Tomorrow, we will have hydrogen produced in North Africa, in the North Sea, with solar and wind resources,” Alverà said. “And that hydrogen can travel through the existing pipeline.”

While there is excitement in some quarters about the potential of green hydrogen, the vast majority of hydrogen generation is currently based on fossil fuels.

In recent times, some business leaders have spoken of the issues they feel are facing the emerging sector.

In October, for example, the CEO of Siemens Energy told CNBC there was “no commercial case for green hydrogen” at this moment in time.

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