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Green Hydrogen to Power 2030 Winter Olympics: A New Era for Clean Energy

Platinum-based hydrogen to drive clean energy at 2030 Winter Olympics.

by Adenike Adeodun

Platinum-based green hydrogen is increasingly being recognized as a cornerstone in the global transition toward decarbonization, with its potential significantly highlighted by plans to integrate it into the 2030 Winter Olympics in the French Alps. This initiative underscores a broad commitment to environmental sustainability and positions green hydrogen as a key player in reducing carbon emissions across various industries.

Recent developments reveal plans to establish a green hydrogen production facility in the region hosting the 2030 Winter Olympics. This facility aims to supply green hydrogen for decarbonizing stainless steel production at a local site in Savoie, France, and to facilitate cleaner mobility options in the French Alps. This dual application of green hydrogen not only supports industrial needs but also promotes sustainable tourism practices during the Winter Olympics, showcasing green hydrogen as a versatile and sustainable energy source.

The electrolyzers used to produce green hydrogen are catalyzed by platinum group metals (PGMs), which are abundant in South Africa, making the country a pivotal player in the green hydrogen market. Moreover, the hydrogen fuel cells, which are also dependent on PGMs, provide decarbonized solutions for land, air, and sea mobility, as well as for green off-grid and mini-grid electricity generation.

In light of these developments, Swiss Steel Group has initiated the use of green hydrogen at its Ugitech plant in Ugine, in the French Alps. Philippe Desorme, vice-CEO of Lhyfe, a company involved in the project, emphasized the urgency of deploying green hydrogen. He stated, “Green hydrogen can and must be deployed as quickly as possible,” reflecting a growing consensus on the necessity of accelerating green hydrogen applications to meet environmental targets.

Euronext-listed Lhyfe is designing the production unit to handle up to 12 tons of green hydrogen daily, aiming to create a local hydrogen ecosystem in the French Alps. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to embed green hydrogen deeply into local industries and communities, ensuring that the energy transition contributes to sustainable industrial practices and enhances community resilience against climate change.

Frédéric Perret, the development director at Ugitech, highlighted that the next step involves expanding this green hydrogen solution beyond the initial applications, suggesting a scalable model that could be replicated in other sectors where direct electrification is not viable.

France’s national strategy supports this expansion, with plans to install 6.5 gigawatts of low-carbon electrolytic hydrogen production capacity by 2030, increasing to 10 gigawatts by 2035. This ambitious goal aligns with broader European efforts to ramp up green hydrogen production as part of the continent’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing energy security.

The role of green hydrogen was also evident at the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, where over 1,000 green hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) were used, demonstrating the practical applications of this technology in promoting clean, emission-free mobility.

Further supporting the green hydrogen initiative, the European Union recently awarded €720 million to several green hydrogen projects across Europe in its first European Hydrogen Bank auction. These projects are expected to collectively produce 1.58 million tonnes of green hydrogen over ten years, which will be used in the production of green steel and fertilizers, among other applications.

In the U.S., Plug Power has reported that its green hydrogen production facilities in Georgia and Tennessee have reached full capacity, producing significant amounts of liquid hydrogen daily. This achievement is part of a larger effort that includes a forthcoming facility in Louisiana, expected to further increase the U.S.’s green hydrogen output.

Internationally, Plug Power has also entered into a memorandum of understanding with Australian developer Allied Green Ammonia. This agreement, set to commence in 2027, will see the supply of 3 gigawatts of proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyzers for a project in Australia’s Northern Territory, aimed at producing green ammonia, a derivative of green hydrogen.

These developments across various continents illustrate a robust and growing global momentum behind green hydrogen, driven by its potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions and foster a sustainable future. As nations and industries rally around green hydrogen, it becomes clear that this technology is not just a component of the energy transition but a fundamental pillar poised to sustainably reshape the global energy landscape.


Source: Mining Weekly

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