German company Enertrag plans a large-scale green hydrogen project in Uruguay

By : Franyi Sarmiento, Ph.D., Inspenet, May 18, 2022

The German renewable energy company Enertrag, in collaboration with SEG Engineering, will develop a green hydrogen production project, called Tambor Green Hydrogen Hub in the department of Tacuarembo in Uruguay. The project will have wind and solar plants, as well as an electrolyser and conversion facilities for the production of green hydrogen and its derivatives.

Uruguay is one of the pioneering countries worldwide in the field of renewable energies. According to data from Enertrag, the country’s potential is very high, to the point that it would be capable of producing hydrogen on the gigawatt scale and satisfying the entire methanol demand of a country like Germany.

The government of the Federal Republic of Germany has realized this potential and through the H2Global initiative, of which Enertrag is a founding member, intends to create an efficient financing program for rapid market growth and import of green hydrogen based products to Germany. The planned financing mechanism will enable the long-term commercial operation of green hydrogen plants and the growth of the market towards a global industrial scale.

The German company has more than 10 years of experience in the production of green hydrogen and is currently developing large-scale international projects of this type in Germany, South Africa and Namibia. The company has been active in Uruguay for several years, working closely with the Uruguayan-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others.

“We want to support the role of Uruguay as a pioneer in Latin America in the implementation of a green energy transition. Uruguay is an ideal partner for Europe and for us with its high-quality energy resources, its stable political and regulatory framework, as well as its vast experience in allowing and implementing large-scale renewable energy installations”, explains Aram Sander, head of the Department of Development of International PtX Projects at Enertrag. “In addition, the production of green hydrogen and its derivatives offers enormous possibilities in terms of growth and structural benefits.”

Tambor Green Hydrogen Hub will be comprised of wind and photovoltaic plants with a capacity of 350 megawatts (MW) in addition to an on-site electrolyser and other facilities. This project will be developed in cooperation with the Uruguayan company SEG Engineering. The 15,000 tons of green H2 produced per year would be converted into derivatives. In the first phase of the project, the hydrogen will be processed into renewable methanol. The methanol produced in Uruguay could offset about 10% of the methanol produced conventionally from crude oil coming from Russia at Germany’s largest refinery.

Methanol is an important raw material for the chemical industry and can be used as an energy carrier. The synthesis gas required for methanol production is produced primarily from fossil feedstocks such as coal. Only renewable resources will be used in the Tambor project. Therefore, the final product will be renewable methanol.

“The energy transition can only be successful through international cooperation and green hydrogen is key to this success,” says Aram Sander. “With a rapidly growing market, hydrogen can not only contribute positively to the achievement of global defossilization, but will also reduce dependence on Russian gas, thus unlocking immense economic potential around the world that will allow people to participate. .

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