Why the state of Ceará may become the Green Hydrogen capital

By Nádia Pontes

On the coast of Ceará, the largest Green Hydrogen (H2) hub is beginning to take shape. The area, located 60 kilometers from the capital city of Fortaleza, will concentrate several companies connected to the production of the clean energy source, and is to become a strategic gateway to the international market.

Located in the Pecem Industrial and Port Complex, the Hub will be directly connected to the Port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, the largest in Europe, with a net profit of € 351.7 million in 2020 (about BRL 2.1 billion).

During a workshop on the topic organized by the BW Expo Digital Summit last Wednesday, June 2nd, Duna Gondim Uribe, chief commercial officer at the Port of Pecem, spoke about the great potential unlocked by this market. “The Port of Rotterdam is not just a shareholder in Pecem. It comes with a great mission and ambition to become a green hydrogen receiving port,” she explained.

Also according to Uribe, the H2 produced in Brazil is expected to be consumed not only in the Rotterdam operations, but throughout Europe. “We know that Europeans will need to import green hydrogen. The partnership with Pecem offers the logistics corridor,” she said.

According to the master plan of the Ceará complex, the 2 km2 Hub area will be able to produce around one million tons of H2 per year. According to Uribe, part of the production is expected to meet the demand of large companies installed in Pecem, such as cement and steel mills, in their energy transition. 

Operating since 2002, the Ceará complex gathers over 30 companies, including companies in the wind industry.  The most handled cargoes in the port include cast iron, salt, milling industry products, fruits, ore, cereals and aluminum.  

It is no coincidence that Ceará is organizing to attract investments in H2. The state, where the first large commercial wind farm was connected to the national electricity grid, is a major producer of this renewable energy source, as well as solar energy. The Ceará photovoltaic potential, assessed at 643 gigawatts (GW), is estimated to be sufficient to supply more than twice the Brazilian electricity demand.

Sun- and wind-produced energy are crucial to supply the electrolyzers, making the country competitive. “Brazil has a unique and very strong position with very favorable weather conditions, both for solar and wind energy. It also has a long tradition of cooperation with Germany”, said Ansgar Pinkowinki, Innovation and Sustainability Manager for the Brazil-Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Rio de Janeiro, AHK Rio, on the opportunities for Brazil to become a major exporter during the launch of the H2 portal in late May.

Near Pecem, the Federal University of Ceará, UFC, is one of the potential partners for research and development. “We have masters and doctors to support the studies that will be conducted at the Hub,” said Fernando Nunes, president of the UFC Technological Park, adding that the 249 laboratories would be available to carry out the necessary tests.

In addition to the key role in decarbonizing the world economy, the Green Hydrogen Hub will make a significant contribution to local sustainable development. “We also want to ensure that all knowledge generated will be internalized,” added Nunes. 

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source: AHK RIO

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