Spain’s Repsol adding renewable hydrogen production at Petronor refinery

Oct. 4, 2021

Repsol SA is investing €8.9 million to build an electrolyzer for production of renewable hydrogen at its majority owned Petróleos del Norte SA’s (Petronor) 220,000-b/d Bilbao refinery in Múskiz, Abanto-Zierbena, in northern Spain’s autonomous Basque Country.

Alongside providing renewable hydrogen for the refinery, the 2.5-Mw electrolyzer—which is scheduled for startup in second-half 2022—will supply other nearby businesses in the Ezkerraldea-Meatzaldea Technology Park (EMTP) of Abanto-Zierbena municipality as part of the first-phase development of Basque Hydrogen Corridor (BH2C), a joint initiative launched by Petronor and Repsol to decarbonize the region’s energy, industrial, residential, and transportation sectors, Repsol and Petronor said in separate Sept. 20-21 releases.

To be engineered and built by SENER Engineering Group and John Cockerill, the Bilbao refinery’s planned electrolyzer will produce renewable hydrogen using renewable electricity to separate water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen based on a process and sources entirely free of carbon-dioxide emissions.

Nortegas Energía Distribución SAU will be responsible for development and construction of all pipelines and associated infrastructure required to transport renewable hydrogen production from the refinery to the EMTP, Repsol and Petronor confirmed.


In addition to the Bilbao refinery electrolyzer, the BH2C will include two future hydrogen plants requiring electrolyzers, according to Petronor and Repsol.

The second plant—to be developed by Petronor, the Basque Energy Agency (EVE), and Enagás for startup in 2024in the Port of Bilbao—will host a 10-MW electrolyzer for supply of hydrogen to a synthetic fuel production plant to be built by Petronor, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, EVE, and Enagás. A third plant—due for commissioning in 2025—will host a 100-Mw electrolyzer to supply additional renewable hydrogen to help Petronor in its broader decarbonization process of its operations, as well as meet growing needs of the BH2C, Petronor and Repsol said.

The BH2C consortium currently consists of 80 organizations—including 11 institutions, 13 knowledge centers and business associations, and 56 companies—that have committed to invest €1,431 million to 2026 on 40 projects across the hydrogen value chain to transform the region into an international renewable hydrogen hub to accelerate decarbonization of as well economic recovery of Basque Country and Spain as a whole.

Repsol’s carbon neutrality path

Investments in renewable hydrogen form a core pillar of Repsol’s broader strategy to decarbonize processes at all its industrial complexes as part of the company’s goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in accordance with the Paris Agreement (OGJ Online, Nov. 11, 2020).

In addition to a building a proposed renewable hydrogen plant with a 100-Mw electrolyzer at its 220,000-b/d Cartagena refinery in the Spain’s southeastern province of Murcia, Repsol said it is working with partner Enagás to scale up development of the collaborators’ proprietary renewable hydrogen production technology based on photoelectrocatalysis for proposed construction of a larger pilot plant at the operator’s 150,000-b/d Puertollano refinery in Spain’s province of Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha.

With an aim of leading the Iberian Peninsula’s renewable hydrogen market, Respol said it plans to install 557 Mw of capacity by 2025 and 1.9 Gw by 2030 via installation of new electrolyzers at its industrial complexes or conversion of conventional existing units to production of renewable hydrogen using a feedstock of biogas.