Greece’s Ambitious Plans to Lead in Green Hydrogen Production

Greece has embarked on an ambitious mission to establish itself as a leader in green hydrogen production. This strategic move is in line with the country’s commitment to decarbonize challenging sectors like transportation, shipping, and various industries.

A Green Hydrogen Vision

As outlined in its new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), Greece has set ambitious targets for 2030 and beyond. By 2030, the country aims to have 1.7 gigawatts (GW) of electrolyzers in operation, capable of producing 135,000 tons of green hydrogen annually. Looking further ahead to 2050, Greece’s goal is to have 30.6 GW of electrolyzers, producing a staggering 2.3 million tons of green hydrogen.

By 2050, Greece envisions an annual consumption of 63.6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of green hydrogen, with a substantial 70% of this hydrogen dedicated to the transportation sector.

Integrating Green Hydrogen with Natural Gas

To expedite the adoption of green hydrogen, Greece plans to blend it with natural gas. By 2030, the goal is to mix natural gas with green hydrogen to reach a concentration of 5.6%, and this figure is expected to rise to 15.4% by 2050. Biomethane will also play a role, contributing 15.4% and 20.4% respectively to make gas consumption cleaner. To achieve this, authorities are considering imposing mandatory annual minimum requirements on gas suppliers, with these requirements set to increase gradually.

Ready for Hydrogen: Gas Infrastructure

The Greek natural gas network is well-positioned to embrace hydrogen. Both the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the operator DESFA believe that only minor investments in terms of pipelines and compressor stations will be necessary to make the network hydrogen-ready. Some major international pipelines, such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and the Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB), are already equipped to handle hydrogen, and new transmission and distribution projects are being designed with hydrogen in mind.

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Michalis Thomadakis, DESFA’s Head of Strategy and Growth, emphasized that every pipeline under construction is hydrogen-ready, noting that Greece’s abundant wind, solar, and water resources make it a promising location for green hydrogen production.

Challenges and Lessons Learned

Despite its ambitious hydrogen plans, Greece faced setbacks in its first major hydrogen project, known as the “White Dragon,” located in Western Macedonia. The project, with an investment of EUR 8 billion, aimed to create a significant hydrogen hub in collaboration with large companies like DEPA Trading, Advent Technologies, Damco Energy, PPC, DESFA, and HELLENiQ Energy. Unfortunately, the project failed to secure European funding and was moved to the third wave of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission.

However, other initiatives have been more successful. Advent Technologies secured EUR 782 million in funding for its Green HiPo project, which focuses on the installation of electrolyzers and fuel cells in Kozani.

Refiner Motor Oil also obtained EUR 127 million in funding for its IRIS project, which combines carbon capture and storage (CCS) with hydrogen and methanol production, with a target of capturing 495,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.

PPC and Motor Oil have formed a joint venture, Hellenic Hydrogen, to deploy up to 100 MW of electrolyzers in Western Macedonia. Meanwhile, HELLENiQ Energy is advancing with plans for a pilot green hydrogen plant in its Elefsina refinery.

B&T Composites is investing in H2CAT Tanks, a project focused on constructing high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks.

Greece’s journey to become a green hydrogen leader showcases both the challenges and successes in the evolving hydrogen landscape, positioning the country as a promising player in the global green energy transition.

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