White Dragon to gradually replace lignite plants in Greece with green hydrogen

In an effort to boost Greece’s decarbonization efforts and phase out the country’s polluting lignite factories, a group of companies formed by the country’s largest energy groups submitted the national proposal for White Dragon, as part of the Greek call for expressions of interest. for major hydrogen projects of common European interest.

“The White Dragon project in fact involves hydrogen produced in a renewable manner in the first line. The vast space of the lignite fields allows solar production in particular ”, Secretary General of Hydrogen Europe Jorgo Chatzimarkakis told New Europe on May 28.

DEPA Commercial, as project coordinator, in collaboration with Advent Technologies, Copelouzos Group via Damco Energy, Public Power Corporation (PPC), DESFA, Hellenic Petroleum, Motor Oil, Corinth Pipeworks, Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) and Terna Energy submitted May 5 to the Greek government and the European Union their investment proposal which exceeds the amount of 8 billion euros, for the development of an innovative integrated green hydrogen project in Greece that covers the entire value chain hydrogen.

Chatzimarkakis underlined that the role of the EU is indeed essential because Greece is a newcomer in terms of hydrogen. “But he’s a very fast learner. However, without the general framework given by the European Commission in terms of building infrastructure but also stimulating markets, it would be very difficult, ”he said.

White Dragon foresees the gradual replacement of lignite-fired power stations in West Macedonia and the transition to clean energy with the final objective of decarbonising the Greek energy mix.

When asked if green hydrogen is enough to lead to the decarbonization of northern Greece and the phase-out of lignite factories, Chatzimarkakis told New Europe that green hydrogen is important but ‘he needed time to develop. “So we could start with projects that also encompass low carbon hydrogen with different technologies,” said the secretary general of Hydrogen Europe.

The White Dragon is fully supported by the Region of West Macedonia and is the development of the initial expression of interest, in September 2019 in Brussels, of the regional governor of West Macedonia George kasapidisDEPA said in a press release. At the regional level, it also benefits from the support of the Bioeconomy and Environment Cluster of West Macedonia.

The White Dragon project will use large-scale renewable electricity (GW) for the production of green hydrogen by electrolysis in West Macedonia.

The hydrogen will then be stored directly (short-term hydrogen storage) and indirectly (passing through the DESFA gas pipeline) and, subsequently, by high-temperature fuel cells will supply the country’s electricity grid with electricity. as a cogeneration unit with a fixed base load. green energy and heat.

The heat generated, as a by-product of green electricity generation, could initially have a complementary use in the district heating networks of West Macedonia, as well as in other applications requiring heat and / or cooling in future industries, data centers, greenhouses, etc.

In addition, one of the main objectives of the White Dragon project is the development, by the cooperating companies, of an integrated industrial research center on hydrogen within the Hydrogen Node of high technology research and development and innovation. which will be created in Western Macedonia.

The planned upgrading and capitalization of existing energy infrastructure – power grids and gas pipelines – is of the utmost importance, DEPA said. In particular, the pipelines will be used for the transport of green hydrogen for other purposes, as well as for its indirect storage.

A necessary condition is the creation of a regulatory framework for net metering of energy as a transition option until the full development of the hydrogen economy.

To accelerate growth under White Dragon, the National Natural Gas Transmission System will initially be prepared to accommodate increasing levels of hydrogen, which will reduce the carbon footprint of the fuel and help launch the market. hydrogen. In addition, the study and construction of an exclusive hydrogen gas pipeline will be implemented in Greece, as well as the first hydrogen projects in the transport sector (garbage trucks, trucks, trains, cars), the appropriate infrastructure for hydrogen refueling stations (HRS) and its road transport and distribution.

According to DEPA, the exclusive hydrogen pipeline will allow the interconnection between remote green hydrogen production units with large end consumers (refineries, industrial units, etc.) to help them “green” their production processes, but also interconnection with the respective systems of neighboring countries. Finally, through the integrated White Dragon project, the potential for transporting and exporting hydrogen via the TAP pipeline connecting Greece to European markets.

Chatzimarkakis explained that the TAP pipeline is needed as a cheap possibility to transport renewable produced hydrogen for export, first as a mixture and later as pure hydrogen. “This is an important factor for the whole project,” he said.

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