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Brazil could be a major market for green hydrogen — but where would its low-cost H2 be used?

HYDROGEN IN CENTRAL ASIA AND CASPIAN

Brazil could be a major market for green hydrogen — but where would its low-cost H2 be used?

Brazil could produce green hydrogen for as little as $2.70/kg by 2030, even if it only draws from new wind and solar rather than its huge hydropower reserves, according to a new report by German think-tank Agora Energiewende.

Source: HydrogenInsight

The analyst calculates that by 2050, Brazil’s untapped potential for 200GW of solar and 241GW of onshore wind (at a hub height of 150 metres) could power up to 25 million tonnes of H2 a year, or 2-6% of the world’s expected demand by mid-century.

This does not include power from the 176GW of additional hydropower (108GW under construction and 68GW yet to be developed) or 29GW of biomass that could be on line by 2050.

Agora Energiewende calculates that the levelised cost of green hydrogen production would range from $2.70 to $5.60 per kilogram of H2 by 2030, with the south and northeast of the country seeing production costs on the lower end of the scale.

However, for projects financed today, the analyst expects that blue hydrogen (made from natural gas with carbon capture and storage [CCS]) would be around $2/kg cheaper than the lowest-cost green H2, owing to Brazil’s huge gas reserves, which would also keep the price relatively stable.

Agora Energiewende notes that half of Brazil’s fossil gas extracted today is used for enhanced oil recovery, with another 10% used to power oil platforms — meaning the country imports pipeline gas from Bolivia and LNG (liquefied natural gas) from global markets.

Producing blue hydrogen would necessarily mean tapping more of Brazil’s gas reserves, which Agora Energiewende notes could increase the risk of fugitive methane emissions.

The think-tank also cautions that historically, CCS infrastructure has underperformed, while incumbent steam methane reforming is difficult to capture high levels of CO2 emissions from.

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