Spanish utility Iberdrola is aiming to become one of Europe’s top green hydrogen producers with a 200-megawatt electrolyzer project and plans for 600 MW more. 

The 100-million-euro ($119 million) project builds on a 20-megawatt electrolyzer installation for Fertiberia, a fertilizer and industrial chemicals firm, which Iberdrola said will be the largest green hydrogen production system in Europe when it comes online about a year from now. 

In October, the two companies announced a €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion) green hydrogen partnership to install a total of 800 MW of electrolyzer capacity at Fertiberia plants in Spain over the next seven years.  

The electrolyzers, equivalent to 20 percent of Spain’s 2030 green hydrogen target, will be used to create green hydrogen for ammonia production at Fertiberia’s Puertollano and Palos de la Frontera chemical plants. 

The 20 MW project, destined for Puertollano in Ciudad Real and costing €150 million ($178 million), will include a 100 MW solar plant tied to 20 megawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery storage. Norwegian firm Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser is supplying the electrolyzer technology. 

Nel has also been named as the supplier for the 200 MW project, which will be located at Palos de la Frontera in the province of Huelva and is set for completion in 2023. 

Iberlyzer: An electrolyzer partnership for Spain's green hydrogen goals 

To carry out the integration work, Iberdrola this week announced a joint venture with Ingeteam, a Basque energy services supplier. 

The joint venture, called Iberlyzer, will be set up next year with 150 employees and is “set to become Spain's first integrator of large-scale electrolyzer plants,” Iberdrola said in a press release.  

After the 200 MW project is complete, Iberlyzer is expected to carry out installation projects at Puertollano and Palos de la Frontera, taking Fertiberia’s total capacity up to 800 MW by 2027.

“The technological and industrial development we will enable through the agreement with Nel and the establishment of Iberlyzer will allow for the construction of larger-scale electrolyzers,” said Iberdrola in an email.  

Iberdrola is also planning to move ahead with green hydrogen projects in other countries and looking to form alliances with other industrial groups and electrolyzer suppliers. 

In September, Iberdrola’s U.K. subsidiary ScottishPower Renewables announced a partnership to build green hydrogen refueling stations for heavy-duty vehicles in Scotland. The Green Hydrogen for Scotland partnership includes chemical company BOC and electrolyzer maker ITM Power.   

It aims to use a 10 MW ITM Power electrolyzer, supplied with wind and solar energy from ScottishPower, to supply hydrogen to the commercial vehicle market “within the next two years,” according to a press note

Green hydrogen on the rise across Europe

Iberdrola’s electrolyzer plans come amid a growing push for green hydrogen across Europe. This Thursday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country will be investing €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) in European recovery funds into green hydrogen development over the next three years. 

The funding is part of an €8.9 billion ($11 billion) public-private investment package via which Spain intends to install up to 600 megawatts of electrolyzer capacity by 2024, rising to 4 gigawatts by 2030. 

By then, 25 percent of all industrial hydrogen in Spain should come from renewable sources, according to the roadmap. Green hydrogen was also a central plank in an energy spending plan unveiled by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week. 

The plan included between £4 billion ($5.3 billion) and £12 billion ($15.9 billion) of new public funding and featured a target of 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen capacity by 2030. 

Elsewhere, Germany is looking to spend €9 billion ($10.7 billion) on hydrogen, and France is investing €2 billion ($2.4 billion). The European Union has a target of 40 GW of electrolysis capacity by 2030. 

On Thursday, industry body Hydrogen Europe welcomed the announcement of a European goal of 300 GW of offshore wind and 40 GW of other ocean energy technologies by 2050. 

“Renewable power producers need hydrogen to grow their business models, and the hydrogen industry needs additional renewable energy capacities to scale up the technology, reduce costs and multiply its uses,” said Hydrogen Europe in a press release.  

“Renewable energy and hydrogen are the fundamental and interdependent building blocks to make the European energy system climate-neutral.”