Green hydrogen opportunities in Turkiye

EnergyTechnical ArticlesSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 2/2024 • 04.06.2024

Hydrogen is the most common element in nature and consumed in several manufacturing processes across a wide-spread spectrum of major industries including oil refining, steel manufacturing and glassmaking. Green hydrogen, produced with renewable energies including wind, solar, hydropower, and bioenergy, is considered as a major energy source to reduce emissions 45% by 2030 and to meet the global net zero commitments by 2050 under the Paris Agreement.


The global demand for green hydrogen is expected to increase at a rapid pace, especially after 2030. According to the International Energy Agency’s predictions, the world’s hydrogen demand is expected to increase from 94 million tons (Mt) in 2021 (95% of global production is currently grey) to nearly 200 Mt in 2030 and 450 – 500 Mt in 2050 (99% of global production needs to be clean), as per net-zero emission (NZE) scenario. If the announced pledges of the countries’ energy policies (APS scenario) are considered, the forecasts for the green hydrogen volume can remain at half of this figure.

According to APS scenario, Europe is expected to become the largest importer of green hydrogen with ~50 bcme (billion cubic meter equivalent of natural gas) net import volume, followed by Japan and Korea. The USA and China are expected to rely on their domestic supply of 150 bcme each. Australia, the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America are expected to become the largest net exporters with the abundance of their renewable energy sources. Leading countries including USA, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom and Japan already announced large-scale green hydrogen projects, official capacity targets and their support programs. Since 41% of global emissions are directly affected via thermal energy needs, green hydrogen will be crucial for energy-intensive industries including steel, chemicals, transportation, refining and power generation.

Turkiye’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has declared hydrogen as one of the priority areas due to its contribution to the sustainable energy future. The country’s goal is to create a carbon-neutral economy model using hydrogen, in line with its economic development and 2053 net zero carbon emission targets. To help achieve this goal, the Turkiye Hydrogen Technologies Strategy and Roadmap has been published.

The document aims to define a strategic roadmap for the creation of a national research, support and application program for technology development, especially emphasizing the importance of domestic development of hydrogen technologies. In the preparation of the document, hydrogen production, storage, distribution and usage technologies are explained, taking into account the studies and developments in the field of hydrogen in Turkiye and in the world.

Turkiye has the potential to both produce and become a technology developer for hydrogen, which is in the process of becoming widespread in many sectors around the world, in the short, medium and long term, states the document.


Current situation

Turkiye is an emerging market with a rapidly growing energy sector. The country`s strategic location between Europe and Asia, its expanding economy, and its increasing population have all contributed to its energy demand growth. Turkiye has a diverse energy mix that includes coal, natural gas, hydroelectric power, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass.

Natural gas is the largest source of energy in Turkiye, accounting for about 36% of the country`s total energy consumption. Turkiye is heavily dependent on imports to meet its natural gas demand, with Russia and Iran being the primary suppliers. To reduce its dependence on imported natural gas, Turkiye has been increasing its domestic production and exploring for new reserves.

Coal is the second-largest energy source in Turkiye, accounting for about 24% of the country’s total energy consumption. The country has significant coal reserves, and it has been investing in modernizing its coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions and increase efficiency.

Renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectric power, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, have been growing in importance in Turkiye. In 2023, the country’s power generation capacity increased by approximately 3%, adding 2,9 GW of new capacity, predominantly from renewable sources. Currently, renewables constitute 53% of Turkiye’s total installed capacity, a notable achievement that surpasses some Western European countries. This growth is indicative of the country’s commitment to transitioning towards a more sustainable energy mix.

Over the past 15 years, Turkiye’s total power generation capacity has more than doubled, and its electricity generation capacity has grown by 1,5 times. The share of geothermal, solar, and wind energy in this mix has nearly doubled in the last five years, now accounting for 20% of total power generation.


Green hydrogen initiatives

Hydrogen is a critical component of Turkiye’s net-zero roadmap. The country aims to increase the number of green hydrogen plants and reduce the cost of green hydrogen production to make it competitive. Several initiatives, such as the South Marmara Hydrogen Shore project and the Hydrogen Valley project, demonstrate Turkiye’s commitment to integrating hydrogen into its energy strategy.

The South Marmara Hydrogen Shore project, a public-private partnership involving the Turkish Ministry of Industry and Technology and 16 other stakeholders, aims to establish a green hydrogen plant. These efforts are designed to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen, presenting an eco-friendly alternative for Turkiye’s energy needs.
The project was awarded EUR 8 million by the European Commission. The partners of the project include Sabanci University, Sisecam, Eti Maden, Turkish-German University, Linde Gaz AS, Bandirma Onyedi Eylul University, Hydrogen Peroxide AS, Universite Mohammed Vi Polytechnique, Alma Mater Studiorum Universita Di Bologna, Software AG (SAG), PwC Sworn InFinancialConsultancy Inc., TENMAK, and TUBITAK.

The region of South Marmara is ideally placed, geographically, economically, and politically to take up the challenge of developing and implementing a hydrogen valley and help build towards the national Turkish goal to be carbon free by 2053. South Marmara is situated between the largest metropolitan areas of Turkiye (Istanbul to the north, Izmir to the southwest and Bursa to the east). It is bordered by the Aegean Sea to the west and the Sea of Marmara to the north which gives it unlimited access to water.

The South Marmara region has set a clear vision to reach a carbon-neutral economy by 2053 by phasing-out fossil-fuel utilization in all sectors and green hydrogen will play a critical role in this path. The HYSouthMarmara project is the first step of this vision and it will create a detailed roadmap which sets out recommendations up to 2035 and beyond in terms of establishing a regional hydrogen economy; design, deploy and install a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser with a minimum 4 MW of power to reach annual hydrogen production of 500 tonnes; develop and implement a digital twin of the hydrogen production system that will create the flexibility for renewable energy usage and efficient production of green hydrogen.

The project also aims to create the South Marmara Hydrogen Backbone by determining the infrastructure requirements for the storage, transport and deployment of the green hydrogen and demonstrate the uptake and replacement of grey hydrogen with green hydrogen in two industries, hydrogen peroxide production and glass manufacturing. Additionally, the HYSouthMarmara project aims to conceive and build a kiln to use hydrogen as a fuel in energy-intensive ceramic industrial processes, develop sodium borohydride plant and use it as a basis for a power supply, explore and create new markets for the use of green hydrogen and its liquid and solid derivatives as well as create a meaningful communication plan to show to public and stakeholders the benefits of green hydrogen.

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