- The reconversion of thermoelectric power plants aims to replace fossil fuel combustion with sustainable technologies while maintaining the existing infrastructure.
- One option to reconvert a thermoelectric power plant is to change the energy source; in this case, natural gas and hydrogen are used instead of coal. Due to its molecular structure, natural gas emits less CO2 than coal and even less when natural gas is mixed with hydrogen. Today it is already possible to mix natural gas with up to 20 % green hydrogen. In the future it will be possible to use 100% green hydrogen produced with renewable energies.
- The advantages of this type of technology are its flexibility to support an electrical system with more and more variable renewable energies and its contribution to the decarbonization of the energy matrix.
Conversion of coal-fired power plants to natural gas or hydrogen
- Chile’s electricity is 37% coal-dependent (in 2019) and is responsible for about 30% of the CO2 emissions.
- There are 28 coal-fired generation plants planned for closure by 2040.
- In line with its climate action commitments, Chile must achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. If coal-fired generation represents 30% of the country’s CO2 emissions, the coming years should see a purging of coal-fired power generation.
- This technology offers an alternative to retiring plants, by reusing existing infrastructure and taking advantage of the potential of Chile’s renewable energies.
- Since 2018 and in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, the GIZ has been working in converting coal-fired power stations in Chile.