We are 20 years old and we have celebrated it in an event that has been held in the Crown of Aragon Hall and in which the Foundation’s awards have also been presented. The Vice-president and Minister of Industry, Competitiveness and Business Development and President of the Foundation, Arturo Aliaga, was in charge of opening/closing the event.
In his speech, Aliaga reviewed the twenty years of the Foundation’s trajectory and recalled “the fearlessness of 28 companies and entities that started this adventure and shared a vision so as not to miss the train of a technology that was being born”. The Aragonese vice-president stressed that “it was a clear commitment to renewable generation, which was going to offer us one of our raw materials that also required technology to be harnessed”. Today, he pointed out, “the Foundation brings together 91 companies, centres and entities that are leaders in their fields and is already recognised throughout Spain”. Aliaga acknowledged the work of the trustees and staff who have worked for the Foundation over the last twenty years, “without whom we would not be here today”. In his speech, he concluded by stressing that “now we are unable to imagine how this technology is going to change our lives in the short term”, in what he described as “an exponential revolution” and highlighted “Aragon’s leadership at European level” through the Foundation.
The III Hydrogen Foundation Awards were also presented in three categories. The ERCROS Award for Best Final Degree Project went to Cristian Baron for Study of the feasibility of integrating Power to Gas technology in the glass industry. The IDOM Award for Best Master’s Thesis went to Irene Vela for Electrolysers for the oxygen reduction reaction based on carbon materials derived from wine-making waste. And the REDEXIS FOUNDATION Award for the Best Doctoral Thesis went to Yong Peng for Hybrid Lead Perovskites as Photocatalysts and SrTiO3 based catalyst for Photothermal nitrogen hydrogenation. These awards seek to stimulate research at the highest level and to promote the study and knowledge of new technologies related to the use of hydrogen as an energy vector, renewable energies and the decarbonisation of transport and the energy sector.
A round table discussion was also held with several founding trustees on “Hydrogen: the evolution of a challenge”, in which questions such as: What led/motivated you to create a Foundation such as the FHa? What challenges were foreseen at the time? What is your assessment of these 20 years and how have your entities changed/evolved in relation to then and now, in 2023, with regard to hydrogen technologies? How has the FHa contributed to this evolution? And what perspectives and challenges do you foresee in the sector and for Aragon?
At the last meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees, the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) to be developed in Aragon were announced. Of the seven selected in Spain by the European Commission, two are in Aragon: the one promoted by Endesa and Industrias Químicas del Ebro, in Zaragoza, and the one by Térvalis and Energías de Portugal in Teruel. As the vice-president of Aragon, Arturo Aliaga, said, “they are at the highest level”.
Also, recently, the Governing Council approved the declaration as an Investment of General and Regional Interest of the H2 Pillar project for the production of green hydrogen through renewable energies (wind and photovoltaic), in the municipalities of El Burgo de Ebro and Fuentes de Ebro by the company Aragonesa del Hidrógeno Verde S.L., an entity constituted 50% by Compañía Energías de Zaragoza and 50% by Aragonesa del Hidrógeno Verde S.L., an entity formed 50% by Compañía Energética Aragonesa de Renovables S.L. and Enagás Renovable S.L. This is an investment of 179.69 million euros for the installation of electrolysers with a capacity of 60 MW. This will develop the production of green hydrogen by electrolysis, derived from electrical energy produced by photovoltaic and wind farms for use in industry and large-tonnage mobility. The project has obtained the PERTE qualification linked to the Next Generation European Funds and extends the declaration of Regional Interest granted on 5 October 2022 to the wind and photovoltaic farms. It includes the generation of renewable electricity and its distribution to end users. Of the 160 projects presented in Spain, 22 have been approved. The only one in Aragon is this one, with a subsidy of 14.3 million euros.
We are currently the only European entity participating in 5 hydrogen valleys, a collaboration model that the European Union considers ideal to extend and showcase this technology by bringing together all the elements related to the production, storage, transport and end use of hydrogen in a single territory. Specifically, we are participating in the hydrogen valley projects of BIG HIT (Scotland), Heavenn (Holland), Green Hysland (Balearic Islands), NAVH (Italy-Slovenia-Croatia) and SH2AMROCK (Ireland).
The Foundation’s Board of Trustees met for the last time in December 2022, at its 39th meeting, where the 2023 Action Plan was approved.
The Foundation will upgrade its green hydrogen generation infrastructures in 2023
In 2023, we will manage a budget of 3.1 million euros, which will allow us to undertake the renovation of some of the key infrastructures for generating hydrogen from renewable resources, a field in which we have been pioneers and an international benchmark throughout our history. Along the same lines, we will upgrade the hydrogen supply station to 700 bar pressure as part of a project co-financed by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Government of Aragon, a major technical advance that significantly increases the autonomy of the vehicles that refuel in it, putting it on a par with traditional fuels. Likewise, and in order to start up the activities foreseen in the approved 2023 Action Plan, an expansion of the staff, currently comprising 35 people – 15 women and 20 men – with extensive experience in the management of hydrogen projects, is being considered. In this respect, it should be pointed out that the Foundation, which continues to increase its participation in national and international projects that are decisive in favouring the implementation of this technology, is simultaneously working on more than 25, promoted under different calls for proposals by institutions such as the European Commission, the ministries of the Spanish Government or the Government of Aragon itself.