Sunday, July 14, 2024

Uruguay on the World Hydrogen Summit 2024

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By Beatrice Levorato Barsotti

On the path to sustainability and achieving ambitious global decarbonization goals by 2050, shifting to renewable energies such as hydrogen is of paramount importance for supporting the energy transition. The Republic of Uruguay, with its Green Hydrogen Roadmap setting significant targets for decarbonization and energy transition, participated in the World Hydrogen Summit 2024, held from May 12th to 15th in Rotterdam. The Summit, organized by the Sustainable Energy Council in partnership with the Government of the Netherlands, the Province of Zuid-Holland, the City of Rotterdam, and the Port of Rotterdam, provided a platform for companies to share expertise, develop strategies, and position themselves as leaders in the energy transition sector.

The partnership between the Netherlands and Uruguay in this context is of particular importance. Both countries  have strong ambitions, however the first highly relies on imports, whereas Uruguay is rich in resources, making it the perfect  exporter and country for investments. By harnessing the Potential of the North Sea, the Netherlands wish to increase their Sustainable Energy by 2030. However, as the Netherlands are not capable of producing hydrogen, its reliance mainly lays on imports. Therefore, infrastructures are of paramount importance to support this.

Uruguay official delegation at World Hydrogen Summit 2024
Uruguay stand at the World Hydrogen Summit 2024.

During Uruguay’s side event, on the 14th of May, high representatives of the State, the Uruguay delegation’s to the Netherlands and representatives of the private industry from both Uruguay and the Netherlands  gathered to present and discuss partnership opportunities, as well as to present activities and efforts of the Hydrogen Road in the country. The organization of the event was backed by the Embassador of the Republic of Uruguay in the Netherlands, H.E. Álvaro Enrique González Otero. The Embassy meticulously planned the delegation trip and coordinated a series of activities during their stay. Their efforts ensured a productive and engaging experience for all participants, highlighting Uruguay’s commitment to advancing hydrogen technology and fostering international collaboration

Ms. Elisa Facio, Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, shared some insights on the importance of the Summit. In terms of partnerships and goals she wished to achieved through the event, Ms. Facio explained the particular importance to Uruguay, especially since it is the first time that the country had a stand at the exhibition and that was doing a side event. Furthermore, the hydrogen economy holds particular importance for Uruguay, as does the relationship with the Netherlands, which was the first country to invite Uruguay to join the world of green and renewable hydrogen.

The minister defined the Summit a ‘very important milestone’ and explained how they are creating lots of connections. Uruguay’s strong potential in the field of hydrogen production stems from its significant renewable energy resources and substantial social, economic, and political stability. This stability creates an attractive environment for sustainable energy projects. Furthermore, Uruguay is rich in CO2 sources, which are essential for hydrogen generation plants. This facilitates the efficient production of hydrogen and its derivatives, such as methanol, positioning Uruguay as a promising player in the emerging hydrogen economy. By leveraging these strengths, Uruguay can enhance its renewable energy impact and contribute to global sustainability goals.

 

Official opening of the World Hydrogen Summit by the President of Namibia.

Present at the conference were Alejandro Stipanicic, President of ANCAP, and Ing. Silvia Emaldi Ficcio, president of Uruguay’s Administración Nacional de Usinas y Transmisiones Eléctricas (UTE). Mr. Stipanicic outlined ANCAP’s comprehensive strategy for the energy transition, comprising seven key actions. Firstly, ANCAP is focused on greening its traditional operations to minimize carbon emissions in oil and gas exploration, with an emphasis on techniques that avoid flaring or venting. Additionally, the company is actively pursuing offshore blocks for hydrogen production, leveraging its expertise and offering long-term commitments for sustainable energy projects.

ANCAP is also collaborating with HIF Global to convert biogenic CO2 into e-methanol and e-gasoline, with further CO2 capture projects in the pipeline. Moreover, ANCAP is advancing a Sustainable Aviation Fuel project and transforming its terminal into a regional hub for renewable fuels logistics. Collaborating with UTE, Uruguay’s national electricity company, ANCAP supports green hydrogen projects, with potential for methanol export, thereby bolstering Uruguay’s position in the global renewable energy market.

On the other hand, UTE, a public company responsible for nationwide electricity supply, manages generation, transmission, distribution, and commercialization. The company also exports renewable energy to Argentina and Brazil, with recent energy export capacity nearly matching domestic consumption. UTE aims to expand the electricity transmission network to support hydrogen projects, linking biogenic CO2 production with electricity to produce hydrogen and methanol for export. Collaborations, such as with the Port of Rotterdam, enhance Uruguay’s renewable energy sector and its potential in green hydrogen production, attracting international investors and facilitating future methanol exports.

The participation of the Uruguayan Mission has been made possible through the diligent and continuous efforts of coordination and dissemination of valuable information by the Embassy of Uruguay in The Hague and its Ambassador, H.E. Alvaro Gonzalez Otero. Overall, the participation of Uruguay in the World Hydrogen Summit 2024 underscores the country’s commitment to sustainability and its important role in the global energy transition. Collaborating with the Netherlands, Uruguay is leveraging its rich renewable energy resources and stable political environment to position itself as a leader in hydrogen production and export. Through initiatives like the Green Hydrogen Roadmap and partnerships with companies like ANCAP and UTE, Uruguay is not only advancing its own renewable energy goals but also contributing to the broader global effort to combat climate change.

The Summit provided a crucial platform for Uruguay to showcase its potential and valuable partnerships, marking a significant milestone in its journey towards a more sustainable future.

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