The city became world-renowned for its giant waves but now lends its name to an innovative project to decarbonise the Portuguese industry, which also wants to be an international benchmark. It is called Vale Hidrogénio Verde Nazaré (Green Hydrogen Valley Nazaré) and brings together a consortium of eight entities, which represent 10% of CO2 emissions.
ReGa Energy, a biogas and green hydrogen company founded by Thomas Carrier, a French engineer who worked for over a decade at Air Liquide, leads the consortium which includes major Portuguese companies in the glass sector – BA Glass, Crisal and Vidrala – and cement – Cimpor and Secil.
The planned initial investment exceeds €100 million and foresees the creation of 140 new jobs. The construction of the infrastructure, which includes a unit for the production of green hydrogen and a solar plant that will provide the energy required for electrolysis, should begin by 2023, with the start of operation scheduled for the end of 2025.
In addition to clean energy, the consortium will use circular economy practices with the use of wastewater. In an initial phase, it intends to install a power of 40MW, to reach the target of 600MW.
For now, the Nazaré Green Hydrogen Valley (NGHV) will take renewable gas to large energy consumers active in the areas of Marinha Grande, Leiria and Coimbra. But the aim is to reach other parts of the country.
“Portugal can become one of Europe’s low-carbon industry powerhouses thanks to its abundant renewable resources, exporting premium products and attracting new low-carbon industries,” says Thomas Carrier, CEO of ReGa Energy. “We see the Nazaré Green Hydrogen Valley project as the first step on the decarbonisation path for Portugal’s industry and we look forward to extending the model to several industrial regions in the country,” he adds.
In his view, recycling, energy efficiency and electrification “are not enough for some heavy industries to achieve carbon neutrality”. In cases such as cement and glass, which require very high temperatures in the production process, green hydrogen is fundamental.
Otmar Hübscher and Luís Fernandes, CEO of Secil and Cimpor, respectively, highlight the importance of NGHV as a competitiveness factor, contributing to meeting the targets set for the 2050 Carbon Neutrality Roadmap for the cement industry.
“To add even more value to society and contribute to a more circular economy, glass must be carbon neutral,” argue the heads of BA Glass, Vidrala and Crisal. “As the glass industry cannot, in energy terms, electrify its entire operation, the NGHV consortium emerges as a complementary and attractive solution through the supply of green hydrogen,” they point out.
The consortium represents over one million tons of CO2 emissions per year, about 10% of the total CO2 emissions of the industry sector and 2.5% of the total CO2 emissions of Portugal.
Besides the entities already mentioned, the consortium also includes technological research and development centres: C5Lab (Sustainable Construction Materials Association), CTCV (Ceramics and Glass Technology Centre) and the Portuguese Hydrogen Association (AP2H2). Other partners are Fusion Fuel, a Portuguese company developing technology for the production of green hydrogen, and Madoqua Ventures, a Portuguese-Dutch company developing energy transition projects.