Overseeing the project is the Highly Innovative Fuels (HIF) consortium led by Chilean firm AME. Its aim will to produce green hydrogen from water through electrolysis, using wind power.
The hydrogen will be combined with CO2 from the atmosphere and synthesised into green methanol, which will then be used to produce carbon-neutral petrol and other products.
The initial project will produce 350 tonnes per year of methanol and 130,000 litres of petrol, and is designed to be scaled up in two subsequent stages. Both the petrol and methanol are to be exported.
HIF’s partners include Italian generator Enel, German engineering giant Siemens and Chile’s state-owned oil company Enap.
HIF is one of several green hydrogen projects planned in Chile, where the potential for solar and wind energy is vast – several dozen times more than current installed capacity.
Chile has plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050 and unveiled a green hydrogen strategy last year with the promise of becoming the world’s lowest-cost producer and decarbonising the copper mining industry. Plans call for the plant to be built in less than a year and to operate for at least 25 years.