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GLOBALOUTLOOK EXECUTIVEDECISION


Brazilswapshydroforhydrogen I


ENEGIX ENERGY INVESTS $5.4BN IN AMBITIOUS GREEN HYDROGEN IN BRAZIL. SETH O’FARRELL REPORTS


n 2018,Wesley Cooke, the chief executive of Enegix Energy, set out on a mission to reduce energy poverty. His plan was to build a model for power


projects that combined decarbonisation with boosting access to electricity. Having spent timeworking in several emergingmarkets, he notes that one thing that always struck him is “that energy poverty—which is rampant today, affecting around 940 million people—is a huge global problem that doesn’t always get the necessary attention”. Enegix Energy has announced its first pro-


ject: it will build the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in Ceará, in northern Brazil, after signing amemorandumof understand- ing with the state government in February. Its ‘Base One’ facility will produce 600–700 mil- lion kg of green hydrogen annually, will run entirely on renewable energy and produce zeroemissions. The project will create thousands of jobs in


the plant’s construction, and hundreds of full- timejobs tomanage the facility thereafter. Enegix expects the facility to be fully opera- tional by 2025. Its goal is to turn Ceará into a hydrogen export location,making hydro-heavy Brazil a pioneer in the hydrogen revolution.


Firstandlargest Brazil’s potential for renewable energy is well knownamong investors and Enegix is not the first to be attracted by the country’s solar and wind capabilities. In 2020, the country wel- comed 31 greenfield renewable energy pro- jects, its second-highest year after 2019, accord- ing to fDi Markets. Enegix, too, was enticed by the north-east coast’s wind and solar potential, and the accessibility to water—integral in the production of hydrogen. But the scale of Enegix’s project is unprece-


dented. Initially, such an ambitious project was not necessarily Enegix’s intention; how- ever, Mr Cooke understood that whatever the project, small- or large-scale, it would demand a lot of capital. And so, Enegixmade the deci- sion to go big in Brazil. “It would be hard to find a 20–25%capacity


factor for solar, but there we’re looking at pro- jects that will have 33%,” he says. “For onshore wind, somegood projects are around 40% capacity factor; in Ceará we’re looking at 50%.” The possibility of offshore wind in Ceará


means that, together, the renewable potential of the project can scale up to 100GWtomeet rising global demand. This, Mr Cooke points


14


Mass employment: Enegix aims to create thousands of jobs with the project


out, can potentially generate more than dou- ble the electricity usage in Australia per annum.


Gamechanger The technology at the heart of Enegix’s plans is liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs). “The only way we’re going to have a significant impact is if we can make hydrogen handleable in a cost-effective way. And we can’t speak enough for liquid organic hydrogen carriers,” he says. “It’s a gamechanger.” LOHCs are organic compounds that can


absorb hydrogen, keeping it stable atambient temperature. Importantly, hydrogen is not toxic, flammable or explosive when bound to LOHCs, meaning that this technology would allowfor safe and secure hydrogen exports. But, as Schreiner Parker, vice president of


Latin America at Rystad Energy, points out, “it is not sufficient to just build an export facility; there has to be an import facility somewhere”. Simply put, the target market will need the capabilities to re-electrify hydrogen. “If successful, the projectmay reorient peo-


ple’s view of Brazil in terms of renewable energy, but there are a lot of questions that need to be resolved: one of which is the cost,” he says, adding that offshore wind and cooling hydrogen incur huge costswhile the regula- tory environment in Brazil lacks clarity. “There’s potential for delay with this pro-


ject,” Mr Parker says. “Wedon’t expect con- struction to start before 2030.”■


www.fDiIntelligence.com June/July 2021 PROJECTPROFILE


BASEONE Target production 600–700 million kg of green hydrogen per annum


Deal value $5.4bn


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