Being adaptable is finding solutions to overcome challenges. Climate change is no trivial problem, with implications that permeate the whole fabric of our global society. By introducing the European Green Deal, the European Commission aims at turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities, like constructing a green hydrogen ecosystem that can benefit all.
Spurred by the European Green Deal, over one hundred agents from the Tarragona region have come together to create the Hydrogen Valley Catalonia. La Vall (the Valley in Catalan), will act as a collaborative multi-stakeholder platform, led by the University Rovira i Virgili (URV) that englobes science and technology centres such as ICIQ, the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) and the Catalunya Eurecat technology centre; business entities like the Associació Empresarial Química de Tarragona (AEQT), Autoritat Portuària de Tarragona; municipal and supramunicipal bodies; government agents such as the Directorate General of Industry of the Department of Business and Knowledge of the Generalitat, the Waste Agency of Catalonia among others; and individual people who are interested in the project.
The main goals of the Hydrogen Valley Catalonia are the promotion of projects, the creation of strategic alliances, and the attraction of investment and talent to create a new society and economy based on green hydrogen. To do so, La Vall will take advantage of a privileged industrial landscape: the Tarragona region possesses one of the most important petrochemical complexes in southern Europe and it’s located on a strategic crossroads uniting the Iberic peninsula with the Mediterranean Sea.
Catalonia is working to be a leader in the energy transition, with the Hydrogen Valley Catalonia playing a vital role in this shift. “As scientists, we’re working hard to develop the necessary tools that the Valley will implement so that by 2050 Europe is climate neutral,” explains Emilio Palomares ICIQ director and group leader. Currently, the petrochemical complex consumes 10 tons/h of grey hydrogen that will be replaced with green (produced using renewable energy and water) hydrogen starting in 2022. The vision of the Hydrogen Valley Catalonia is to use green hydrogen as a raw material and heat source in the chemical and other industries, for transport, in residences and as a fuel. This vision is aligned with the EU 2050 goal of having 25% of the energy generated from green hydrogen and will bring our society closer to the new green economy and tackling the climate emergency.