Luciano Caratori

Fundacion Torcuta Di Tella

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                    [post_content] => Hydrogen produced with minimal or no carbon emissions is often expected to become an important tool for meeting climate objectives and decarbonising national economies that currently mostly rely on fossil fuels. Despite initial expectations, it seems unlikely that clean hydrogen will be used by all industries that require decarbonization. However, many researchers, policymakers, and energy practitioners anticipate that some hard-to-abate sectors, such as producers of oil and gas/petrochemicals, nitrogen fertilizers, steel, and electricity, and heavy-duty and long-distance land transport, will be among the first to adopt this substance, paving the way for others. Hence, they are often referred to as the ‘low hanging fruits’ since their transition to hydrogen is anticipated to be more feasible and often less complex compared with other industries. While considerable attention has been given to the role of clean hydrogen in the decarbonization efforts across Europe, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, the potential role of this substance in South America – a continent largely associated with significant potential for the cost-competitive production of decarbonised hydrogen – has not received substantial attention. Furthermore, besides favourable geographical and geological conditions that could enable the countries of the region to develop the manufacturing of clean hydrogen and its derivatives for export, South American nations also face challenges posed by hard-to-abate sectors that could potentially use hydrogen to decarbonise their operations. Therefore, this paper focuses on Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile – the four largest economies of the continent with ambitious plans to develop national hydrogen sectors – and analyzes the opportunities and challenges posed by clean, domestically sourced hydrogen for the decarbonization of their ‘low hanging fruits’. It then compares and contrasts the key findings and finally concludes by applying the main points to similar industries worldwide.
                    [post_title] => Hydrogen for the ‘low hanging fruits’ of South America: Decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile
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                    [post_content] => South America is endowed with vast energy resources and natural gas plays an important role in the supply of energy to the region. A few countries in the Southern Cone area such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile, also meet part of their demand needs with imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) and/or pipeline gas. In line with the objectives of diversifying to indigenous sources, reduce GHG emissions and advance the Paris Agenda towards net-zero emissions, there has been a push to increase the use of renewable sources in those countries, mainly solar and wind. In 2019 the installed capacity of wind energy more than doubled in Argentina year-on-year (albeit from a small base) whilst solar grew 19.6 per cent and 23.9 per cent in Brazil and Chile respectively.

For many years, South American countries have been looking for viable ways to develop decarbonized gas such as biomethane, biogas and, more recently, hydrogen. This paper analyzes the efforts by Argentina, Brazil and Chile to decarbonize gas to reduce greenhouse gases emissions, including some significant projects already being developed and in operation. The paper also assesses the initiatives, timing and challenges, and describe the bottlenecks – including costs, infrastructure, financing and regulatory issues - impacting on the development of projects and the more widespread use of biogas, biomethane and hydrogen in these economies. Finally, the possibility of creating a regional market for decarbonized gas is investigated.

Looking at the region overall, there is significant potential for biogas and biomethane in Argentina and Brazil, but less so in Chile.  In order to realise that potential, particularly for biomethane further incentives and regulations will be required.  For hydrogen, while PV seems to be the most competitive source for green hydrogen, levelised costs of green hydrogen remain at least double the cost of hydrogen from natural gas without CCUS.   Although the three countries are pursuing decarbonised gas projects, initial planning is still in progress and there is a lack of sufficient coordination between government and policy makers to drive the development.   Particularly for hydrogen, large scale developments are likely to be beyond the current NDC horizon of 2030, but putting a clear transition pathway in place soon will increase the likelihood of achieving the significant potential for decarbonized gases in the three Southern Cone countries.
                    [post_title] => The decarbonization of gas in the Southern Cone of South America
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            [post_content] => Hydrogen produced with minimal or no carbon emissions is often expected to become an important tool for meeting climate objectives and decarbonising national economies that currently mostly rely on fossil fuels. Despite initial expectations, it seems unlikely that clean hydrogen will be used by all industries that require decarbonization. However, many researchers, policymakers, and energy practitioners anticipate that some hard-to-abate sectors, such as producers of oil and gas/petrochemicals, nitrogen fertilizers, steel, and electricity, and heavy-duty and long-distance land transport, will be among the first to adopt this substance, paving the way for others. Hence, they are often referred to as the ‘low hanging fruits’ since their transition to hydrogen is anticipated to be more feasible and often less complex compared with other industries. While considerable attention has been given to the role of clean hydrogen in the decarbonization efforts across Europe, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, the potential role of this substance in South America – a continent largely associated with significant potential for the cost-competitive production of decarbonised hydrogen – has not received substantial attention. Furthermore, besides favourable geographical and geological conditions that could enable the countries of the region to develop the manufacturing of clean hydrogen and its derivatives for export, South American nations also face challenges posed by hard-to-abate sectors that could potentially use hydrogen to decarbonise their operations. Therefore, this paper focuses on Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Chile – the four largest economies of the continent with ambitious plans to develop national hydrogen sectors – and analyzes the opportunities and challenges posed by clean, domestically sourced hydrogen for the decarbonization of their ‘low hanging fruits’. It then compares and contrasts the key findings and finally concludes by applying the main points to similar industries worldwide.
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Latest Publications by Luciano Caratori