Petrobras (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) entered into a Cooperation Agreement with Instituto Senai de Energias Renováveis (ISI-ER) to build a pilot electrolysis plant to study the green hydrogen chain (low carbon). The goal is to assess the production and use of the hydrogen produced from water electrolysis using solar energy. The facilities of Petrobras’s Alto Rodrigues Photovoltaic Power Plant in the state of Rio Grande do Norte will be used.
The power plant, initially built for research and development, will expand from 1.0 Mwp (Megawatt peak) to 2.5 Mwp to supply the power demand of the pilot electrolysis plant to be established. The hydrogen produced will be used to assess the microturbines’ performance and structural integrity because of the combustion of hydrogen and natural gas mixtures. The project is estimated to take three years and cost BRL 90 million.
“Among the benefits to the company is the development of knowledge about equipment behavior caused by the hydrogen and natural gas mixture to create business models of interest to the company. This is another initiative that will contribute to the economic feasibility analysis of projects to produce low-carbon hydrogen and byproducts,” says Jean-Paul Prates, president of Petrobras.
“One of the big issues concerning low-carbon hydrogen is the operation of the electrolysis technology directly connected to the source of green energy, with its intermittent characteristics. One of this project’s goals is to broaden our knowledge of this kind of operation,” adds Maurício Tolmasquim, Energy Transition and Sustainability director.
“Petrobras and Senai ISI-ER do Rio Grande do Norte are long-standing strategic partners in many research and development areas concerning green energies and hydrogen; the institute has extensive expertise in wind and solar energy, says the Engineering, Technology, and Innovation Director, Carlos Travassos.
The partnership between Petrobras and Senai ISI-ER includes the installation of a meteorological station and operation and maintenance of a high-concentration photovoltaic system; studies into the influence of the thermal effects on the modeling of wind resources and the centralized photovoltaic generation, and the creation of methodologies to measure and assess offshore wind power.