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Recent developments in Turkey’s hydrogen energy strategies

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August 27, 2021

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Published:

August 27, 2021

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Authors: Dr. Döne Yalçın, Managing Partner at CMS Turkey and Taner Elmas, Associate at CMS | Istanbul | Turkey

By increasing the use of hydrogen, Turkey aims to take a step towards using cleaner resources and thus becoming less dependent on imported energy. This is of great importance as Turkey’s energy strategy focuses on local sources of energy.

According to the roadmap announced in the World Energy Transition Outlook Report of the International Renewable Energy Agency, demand for electricity generated from hydrogen is expected to reach 21,000 terawatt-hours per year by 2050. However, even though decisive factors are driving the global expansion of hydrogen production and renewable energies as well as the energy transition, there are some obstacles that prevent hydrogen from gaining acceptance as an energy source in the industry. These obstacles include high costs, sustainability concerns, lack of demand, lack of suitable energy system structures, and lack of technical and commercial standards.

Government policies and strategies can help overcome the barriers to hydrogen production. Turkey’s efforts in this direction have paved the way for new investments and expansion in various sectors. Efforts in hydrogen-oriented projects result from the importance of renewable energy use and hydrogen production in Turkey. Hydrogen is expected to become a common energy source in the future. This article focuses on Turkey’s hydrogen-oriented energy strategy, the link between renewable energy and hydrogen, and innovations in the field of hydrogen energy in Turkey.

Priority industries for the Turkish hydrogen energy strategy

The Minister of Energy and Natural Resources (the “Minister) explained the increasing use of hydrogen in various sectors – including renewable energy, heating, and transport – at the Energy Exploration Workshop. By increasing the use of hydrogen, Turkey aims to take a step towards using cleaner resources and thus becoming less dependent on imported energy. This is of great importance as Turkey’s energy strategy focuses on local sources of energy. This includes decarbonising heating, increasing hydrogen production from local sources, and increasing the use of boron as a storage and conservation material for hydrogen.

The priority targets of the 2021 plan for the use of hydrogen relate to the natural gas sector. The introduction of hydrogen into the natural gas distribution system is scheduled to start at the end of 2021. As hydrogen offers cost advantages in the transport sector, the integration of hydrogen energy into the transport industry is also receiving a lot of attention worldwide. The Minister emphasised that the production of hydrogen from domestic coal by volatilizing enables clean transport. As an example, the Minister cited that a bus can travel 1,030 kilometres on hydrogen produced from 1 tonne of coal, indicating that the substantial coal reserves of Turkey could be used for such cause.

The results of research into the production and use of hydrogen thus strengthen the concept of clean energy use in the world.

Hydrogen energy in Turkey as renewable energy

Hydrogen production from natural gas and renewable energy sources has developed significantly, especially due to increasing investments. In addition, it is envisaged that in the next period production will be fed entirely by renewable energy. According to a report by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), hydrogen plays a crucial role as a resource, especially in heavy industry and transport.

The EBRD commissioners have highlighted Turkey’s role in the use of hydrogen as a renewable energy source. The renewable energy potential in Turkey provides a suitable area for the production of hydrogen energy. The EBRD commissioners also stated that the demand for hydrogen currently comes mainly from Europe. If Turkey intends to develop a green electricity market and decarbonise the economy, its high renewable energy potential should be an advantage in this area.  The EBRD Manager for Green Economy and Climate Action in Turkey mentioned that the production of green hydrogen and its export to Europe could be a crucial opportunity for Turkish exporters in the next ten (10) years, even though no hydrogen target has been set.

Innovations in the field of hydrogen energy in Turkey

Canadian clean energy solutions company Xebec Adsorption announced that its subsidiary HyGear has activated the on-site hydrogen generation system at the Turkish lubricating oil refinery ‘Tayras’. Xebec Adsorption said, “The hydrogen generation system managed by ‘Tayras’ will be the first example of its kind in Turkey. The fully automated system will deliver about 560 kg of hydrogen per day (205 tonnes per year) at a pressure of 125 bar under a 15-year gas-as-a-service contract.” The economic contribution that the plant will make is considered one of the most remarkable aspects. In addition, emissions from API Group II-based lubricating oils will be reduced. This will be an important step in the field of “Turkey’s first green hydrogen plant”.

Conclusion

Hydrogen plays a crucial role in a clean and secure energy future. It is gaining unprecedented political and commercial momentum. Policies and projects are being rapidly developed around the world to overcome the barriers to using hydrogen as an energy source.

Turkey’s hydrogen production strategy focuses on the use of hydrogen as an energy source in many areas. One of the main goals in developing the strategy is indigenous production. If implemented, this strategy will bring positive results for Turkey in many ways. In addition to the Turkish strategy, projects are being implemented that are attracting the attention of foreign-oriented investors in the field of hydrogen production. Consequently, there are some ongoing studies, strategies and investments to ensure Turkey’s development in terms of hydrogen production and the use of the gas as a resource. It is expected that these developments will gradually increase and the integration of hydrogen into practice will accelerate day by day.

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