Recently, I was invited by a former Chilean attaché in the Netherlands to participate in an official hydrogen trade mission to the South American country. I was joined by some fifteen parties (who are all involved in the EU and Netherlands-backed green hydrogen development plan) for a week-long visit in late October. I was curious to see whether enthusiasm for ammonia in Chile was as strong as that on display in Brazil earlier this year.
First, the delegation was invited to southern Chile by local authorities and the regional Governor. In the world’s southernmost city of Punta Arenas, we saw first-hand their progress towards green hydrogen, and were impressed by an operating pilot plant for Sustainable Aviation Fuel. We were shown future sites for hydrogen production, and how updates to port infrastructure would allow for the export of hydrogen & hydrogen carriers to Europe and the Netherlands. With Dutch expertise (based on developments in Rotterdam), the Punta Arenas area could be supported to speed up its hydrogen production and ammonia export potential. The permitting & construction of wind farms is still required to power these plants, but we saw four well-developed production projects that could soon begin operations.
We then made our way to Santiago, and attended a match-making event with local organisations eager to cooperate with the Dutch participants. Santiago was also the location for the Green Hydrogen Summit Chile LAC 2023. As a Director of the NH3Event and as President of the Ammonia Energy Association, I had the opportunity to speak about regulations and certification of clean ammonia during the conference. Although this was a hydrogen-focused event, there was certainly recognition of the need for a specific ammonia event in Chile or even Latin America in general. Enough interest & discussion eventuated that an early-2024 event in Santiago was proposed.
I look back to a highly successful mission in Chile, with NH3Event Europe to take up the work on organising an event in Chile. Clean ammonia in Latin America faces multiple challenges, including regulation, certification, safety in operations and design. Newcomers to the ammonia scene – from engineers to government employees – must be trained & educated appropriately to ensure success. An in-person event will create the opportunity to create coherence between all ammonia stakeholders, and bring new interest to the space in Chile, so bring on 2024!