The German renewable energy developer Svevind has recently announced the largest green hydrogen project in the world, which is a 30MW hydrogen electrolysis plant that produces 3 million tons of hydrogen each year using 45GW of onshore wind power and solar power.
This is obviously an enormous renewable energy-hydrogen project, and it would put other power plants to shame even if it is only used to generate power instead of for hydrogen conversion. The largest hydrogen energy plant in the world is currently located in Canada, and features an electrolysis capacity of roughly 20MW; the biggest hydrogen energy project previously was the Base One program of the Australian hydrogen company Enegix in Brazil which has a predicted annual capacity of 600 million kg. After conversion, the hydrogen energy program of Svevind will feature 5 times the capacity of Base One.
The project is still in the early development phase. Svevind had submitted the project to the Government of Kazakhstan in May, and then signed a MOU with the local investment company JSC. The overall time required to complete the project is currently estimated to be more than 8 years; the development, engineering, procurement, and financing of the plant are expected to take up to 3-5 years, while the subsequent construction and the trial run periods would occupy 5 years.
Svevind selected Kazakhstan as the site for the plant primarily owing to the scarcely populated area of the central region of the country. Although Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, it has one of the lowest population densities, at 7 individuals per square km. Statistics show that the country had a population of merely 18 million in 2020, which is even lower than Taiwan. The vast prairies of Kazakhstan is a trademark feature of the country, occupying about a 1/3 of the national area.
Such a vast national area and low density of population is somewhat perfect for the installation of renewable energy, since the first requirement for the establishment of extensive renewable power plants is a substantial amount of land. Kazakhstan also possesses excellent climate advantage, as the average wind speed there is 4-5km/second, which can potentially generate 1.82 trillion KWh of wind power each year. Owing to the abundance of water resources from Tian Shan, the southern region of the country has an annual insolation of 2,200-3,000 hours, making it optimal in solar development.
As a transcontinental country, Kazakhstan spans across Europe and Asia, and will be able to export green hydrogen to Asia on the left and Europe on the right, should the power plant complete establishment and construction as scheduled. The hydrogen energy can also be provided for the local ammonia, steel, and aluminum plants.
Kazakhstan is currently still dependent on petroleum, natural gas, and rich minerals for its economic development. Thermal power occupies over 80% of its power supply, and is centralized in the northern region which is rich in coal resources. The power there is usually transported to the southern cities that consume 70% of the national power.
Kazakhstan has stipulated the target of ascending the ratio of renewable energy over the total power generation from the existing 0.5% to 50% by 2050. A wide distribution of renewable energy plants in the southern part of the country may perhaps balance the supply or demand of power consumption in various areas.
(Cover photo source: Svevind)