Green hydrogen and renewable gasses are considered a must for the decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors, such as transportation, shipping and some industries.
Greece has set an ambitious goal for 2030 and beyond as part of its new National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), while many Greek and foreign companies have expressed their interest or have already begun to invest in green hydrogen.
The NECP targets the installation of 1.7 GW of electrolyzers by 2030, which translates to 135,000 tons of green hydrogen production. Looking further down the road, the goal is 30.6 GW of electrolyzers by 2050, producing 2.3 million tons.
The total consumption of green hydrogen in Greece is expected to reach 63.6 TWh a year by 2050, with 70% of the fuel used in transportation.
Natural gas in the Greek system will be mixed with green hydrogen to 5.6% by 2030 and to 15.4% by 2050. Biomethane is also expected to contribute with 15.4% and 20.4% respectively in order to make gas consumption cleaner. In order to do this, the authorities are planning to enforce a mandatory annual minimum for gas suppliers that will gradually increase.
Greece’s gas network is set to become hydrogen-ready
As for the national natural gas network, both the Ministry of Environment and Energy and operator DESFA believe that little investment is required in terms of pipelines and compressor stations to make it hydrogen-ready. Large international pipelines, such as Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Interconnector Greece Bulgaria (IGB), are already able to handle quantities of hydrogen, and new transmission and distribution projects take that into account.
DESFA: Every pipeline we are building is hydrogen-ready
Michalis Thomadakis, DESFA’s Head of Strategy and Growth, said every pipeline that is being built is hydrogen-ready. “The upgrade of our main pipeline has been included in the sixth PCI list and it is one of the first such projects in Europe. Greece is one of the most promising countries to produce green hydrogen, since it has wind, sun and enough water to do so,” he said.
According to the government, green hydrogen production will be covered by the rapid expansion of renewable energy sources in the country, which are expected to grow by 13.5 GW by the end of this decade.
The future after the White Dragon
Despite Greece’s ambition in hydrogen, its first effort so far was not successful. The government planned to create a large hydrogen hub in Western Macedonia, called the White Dragon, with the participation of many large companies, such as DEPA Trading, Advent Technologies, Damco Energy, PPC, DESFA and HELLENiQ Energy.
However, the EUR 8 billion project did not manage to acquire European funding and was moved to the third wave of PCI projects by the European Commission.
On the other hand, Advent Technologies’s Green HiPo project has managed to secure EUR 782 million in funding for a period of six years. The company plans to install electrolyzers and fuel cells in Kozani.
Advent: Green HiPo emphasizes new technology
The company’s Chairman and CEO, Vasilis Grigoriou, said that Green HiPo is the largest project as part of IPCEI when it comes to technology, since it “emphasizes the latest developments on a large scale.”
Refiner Motor Oil has been selected for the IRIS project that combines carbon capture and storage (CCS) with hydrogen and methanol production. So far it has received EUR 127 million in funding with a goal of reaching 495,000 tonnes of captured CO2 annually. In Western Macedonia, PPC and Motor Oil have set up a joint venture called Hellenic Hydrogen with a goal of installing as much as 100 MW of electrolyzers.
HELLENiQ Energy is also expected to reach its final investment decision this year on its pilot green hydrogen plant to be installed in its Elefsina refinery.
Another investment is H2CAT Tanks by B&T Composites, a project to build high pressure hydrogen storage tanks.
National strategy to follow NECP
Hydrogen Europe: Greece can offer much as a regional hub
Hydrogen Europe’s CEO, George Chatzimarkakis, believes that Greece can play an important role in hudrogen, as long as it has the necessary policies in place: “In the future there will be three categories of countries in hydrogen; Producers, consumers and distributors. Greece can produce, but it can offer much more as a regional hub because of its position,” he stated recently.
Since hydrogen is a complicated venture with many aspects in different sectors of the economy, the government is expected to complete a national strategy document in the near future. This will take over from the NECP in order to provide visibility to investors and a solid political base in the years to come. However, given that similar initiatives (energy storage, offshore wind etc.) have been delayed in the past, investors remain cautious about any promises.