Green hydrogen: there are doubts about the route to Becem – Egidio Serpa

There are doubts about the economic feasibility of the project to implement a green hydrogen production center in the Besim Industrial and Port Complex. One final argument raised by skeptics relates to the high cost of investment – ​​three times higher than the cost of its equivalent, gray hydrogen, because it is produced using fossil fuels.

According to this argument, only a government-backed H2V project will receive a return. The example in the United States, for example, offers a magical subsidy – US$3 per kilogram of H2V gas. Perhaps because of this or because of this, green hydrogen is thriving there. Here’s a problem.

This column once again turned to engineer José Carlos Braga, a renewable energy specialist and partner and technical coordinator of Cactus Energia Verde, which has a prior contract signed with Complexo do Pecém to build an H2V production unit there.

On this topic and in response to the article’s question, José Carlos Braga conveyed the following message:

“In theory, this argument would be valid. However, it is necessary to consider some factors in relation to the United States:

“1) Venza hydrogen is obtained from 100% polluted sources, while Verde comes from electrolysis, i.e. 0% pollution. It is therefore incorrect to say that they both have the same properties;

“2) the cost of our green energy is more competitive” (compared to that of the United States and any other country);

“3) Direct and indirect tax incentives (subsidies) in the Export Processing Zone – Pecém ZPE – will be of great importance;

“4) The H2V products produced here in Ceará will, initially, meet the requirements of Rotterdam, whose European subsidies are equal to, or even greater than, those of the USA, which will be reflected in the auctions that will be held starting from March of this year in 2024, Especially because of the dependence on Russian gas;

“5) The production chain that will be implemented due to H2V in Pecém will encourage high-level academic training as well as generate high-quality employment opportunities, compatible with Industry 4.0 that will be promoted in Ceará;

“6) It is estimated that around 2030, a ‘break-even point’ (equilibrium point) of green hydrogen relative to gray hydrogen will occur, leading to a geometric increase in H2V production, making it, in effect, the oil of the 21st century.”

For this column, nothing has changed since October 2023, when the Federation of Ceará Industries (Fiec) promoted the second edition of the Fiec Summit Hidrogênio Verde at the Event Center. This means that what remains, in fact, are great and growing expectations about it, without any actual work having begun on an industrial unit designed for H2V production in Becem.

To make matters worse, the National Conference has not yet clarified the issue of regulating green hydrogen production and offshore wind energy generation (inside the sea). A federal lawmaker from Ceará who focused on issues related to the energy transition believes that “everything is still undefined and confusing.”

In a business environment painted in dark, questionable colors, investors in the energy sector – whether Brazilian or foreign, with or without a memorandum of intent – prefer to wait for the green light of hope, and only then, decide where and when to invest. invest.

According to the vehicle carrying the Pecém H2V Hub project, the investor – Fortescue, Casa dos Ventos, Qair and Cactus Energia Verde, for example – will have to wait a little longer, because next January Parliament is in recess. Normal activity on February 1.

It must be remembered that Brazil is not for beginners.

Front photo by Egidio Serpa

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