ICIQ participates in the Catalunya Sud Green Hydrogen Platform to speed up the energetic transition

Climate change and environmental degradation are threatening our future. To overcome these challenges, the European Commission launched the European Green Deal, an action plan to boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy and to restore biodiversity and cut pollution. This would mean achieving climate neutrality in the European Union by 2050.

Spurred by this European initiative and its national counterpart, over 50 agents operating in the Camp de Tarragona and Terres de l’Ebre areas have created the South Catalonia Green Hydrogen Platform. The goal of the platform is to promote the introduction and consolidation of Green Hydrogen as a sustainable fuel to meet the challenge of energy transition in the face of climate change. The challenge is not trivial: despite being the lightest and most abundant element in the universe, the current hydrogen production as an energy vector still relies on the use of fossil fuels. “This multi partnership, gathering many players in our area, will be fundamental to transform Tarragona into a European leader for the transition towards a green and decarbonized energy cycle” explains Emilio Palomares, ICIQ Director and group leader and ICREA professor.

Sustainability is part of ICIQ’s DNA. The institute’s research groups investigate and develop new technologies to transform solar energy into electricity and/or fuels thus contributing to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. ICIQ’s researchers are developing new strategies and devices for splitting water into its components: hydrogen and oxygen. The so-called Green Hydrogen, when obtained from water and a renewable energy source, can be used as an environmentally friendly, zero-emission fuel – although further research will be needed for this alternative to be competitive in terms of costs and scale.

For the time being, the representatives of the founding entities of the Platform have agreed to define governance, draw up the first portfolio of projects and work on an action plan for 2021. The projects, they point out, will have to give response to three basic lines: hydrogen-based mobility, hydrogen economy cycle, and basic infrastructure required. “The realization of these large-scale projects will move forward the green hydrogen deal, where all contributions from basic scientific understanding to policy directives will be key to solve the actual problems of sustainable hydrogen production, transportation, and usage,” explains Prof. Palomares.

In this line, the Catalonia Sud Green Hydrogen Platform, coordinated by the the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV), brings together training, research, and technology agents; business agents and companies working in the green hydrogen value chain; local and super municipal administrations as well as the Generalitat of Catalonia. In a telematic meeting, the agents expressed their desire to jointly develop projects that will serve to move towards a green hydrogen economy and the digital transition through research, transfer, and training of qualified professionals.