UPC inaugurates Hydrogen Laboratory and a pilot plant for green hydrogen production
This morning, the Diagonal-Besòs campus of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia – BarcelonaTech (UPC) hosted the inauguration ceremony of the Hydrogen Laboratory and the green hydrogen production pilot plant. These leading facilities are a ‘living lab’ to advance research and innovation in hydrogen technologies, while supporting the industrial fabric and training activities. The ceremony was attended by the president of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Pere Aragonès, the mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, and the rector of the university, Daniel Crespo, among other personalities.
The new Hydrogen Laboratory and pilot plant for green hydrogen production develops new technologies based on hydrogen (H2) and will provide technical support and durability testing to the industry. This scientific infrastructure is a leader in Europe and provides a showcase of hydrogen technology for the business sector and academia.
Specifically, the Laboratory conducts research on hydrogen production, compression and transport, storage and use. The hydrogen and electricity used in the laboratory for experiments are produced locally, sustainably and modularly, from the hydrogen production pilot plant installed on the rooftop of the same building C. Thus, the laboratory has its own microgrid to optimize the consumption and production of hydrogen and electricity.
One of the key challenges of hydrogen technologies for the coming years is the decarbonization of industry and transport. To advance towards this goal, facilities such as this hydrogen pilot plant are key. Through this Laboratory, the use of hydrogen as a chemical product for the manufacture of ammonia is being studied, with the challenge of producing it using green hydrogen, without polluting emissions (ammonia is currently already produced with hydrogen, but it is usually gray hydrogen, from natural gas, which emits greenhouse gases). It is also being studied for use as a fertilizer or fuel for maritime transport.
A metropolitan commitment to the future
In his speech, together with the other authorities present at the event, the mayor highlighted “the beneficial and essential impact of green hydrogen and renewable energies in general” and also defended the “visionary metropolitan commitment that was made to introduce renewable energies and research and knowledge in the forgotten area of the Besòs”.
“The alliance of city councils, the Generalitat, research centres and industry is moving forward and is magnificent news in the context of the accelerated fight against climate change”, he said. Collboni announced his forthcoming participation in the United Nations Climate Change Conference Summit (COP 28) to be held in Dubai. “Barcelona is a member of C-40, the network of cities around the world committed to climate neutrality, and the challenge ahead of us is very clear: unity of action, taking action, as we are doing today, and meeting the objectives and commitments to neutralise CO2 emissions in the atmosphere”.
Collboni highlighted the efforts already being made in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, on the one hand by TMB with the use of hydrogen for public transport, “which currently has 8 hydrogen buses, in 2024 it will have 44 and will reach 140 hydrogen buses in 2030”, and on the other hand “Barcelona now has the first certified green hydrogen plant for public use in the whole of Spain, in the Zona Franca”.
Finally, he also highlighted the opportunity to place “Barcelona and Catalonia as a strategic centre for green hydrogen, with the connection of the great H2MED project between Barcelona and Marseilles, which geopolitically will place us at the centre of a process of accelerated transformation of renewable energies”.