Being developed by Ecopetrol, a 50kW PEM electrolyser will be coupled with 270 solar panels and will run for the next three months.

It is hoped that the pilot project will support Ecopetrol in gathering information on green hydrogen, its maintenance, reliability, and scalability to ramp up the production of the clean energy carrier.

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Not only will the technicalities of hydrogen production be analysed but environmental factors will as well whilst also serving as a means to determine the impact on use of water and electricity.

In line with its innovation, science and technology strategy, Ecopetrol has also partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank, ANDI, iNNpulsa Colombia, the Cartagena Chamber of Commerce, Sena and its Technoparks model, universities and other organisations, to form the “first” Centre for Innovation and Technology in the Caribbean.

This will be a part of the country’s C-Emprende network, a laboratory that will propose solutions to the challenges of the energy and petrochemical transition, with hydrogen to be pivotal in its development.

Felipe Bayón, President of Ecopetrol, said, “Today we are the largest producer of hydrogen in Colombia, we use it to produce cleaner gasoline and diesel; however, we want to go further in our commitment to sustainability.

“That is why we announce a robust portfolio of initiatives that seek the development of the industry of this type of energy in the country, while making progress in reducing the carbon footprint to meet the goal of being a company with zero net emissions by 2050, a fundamental step on our way to the energy transition.”

The hydrogen economy opportunity in South America

In the last decade the importance of hydrogen as an energy vector and the need to decarbonise the energy supply dictated by climate change initiatives, combined with the rapid progress of renewable electricity generation from wind and solar energy that is becoming more competitive with traditional generation methods, and the advances made in hydrogen produced by electrolysis, are making green hydrogen a viable alternative for decarbonisation.

With vast renewable energy sources, South America is beginning to analyse the hydrogen alternatives.Fossil fuels account for almost two thirds of the total energy supply in South and Central America, as presented in Figure 1, although the situation presents specific conditions in the different countries, depending on its particular geography and natural resources inventory.

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