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Northeastern Brazil to Build World’s Biggest Green Hydrogen Plant

The Brazilian Report



The northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará is much sought after by tourists because of its beautiful beaches and long, hot, sunny days. In fact, rain in Ceará occurs mostly between February and May. Beyond being adored for getaways, the state’s climatic characteristics bring financial opportunities for its residents. With sunny days for the vast majority of the year, the number of home solar power generators in Ceará more than doubled last year compared to 2019. According to the National Association of Electric Energy (Aneel), the state had over 10,000 micro and mini solar generators installed last year, 130.8 percent more than the 4,300 registered in 2019.

As well as sunny, Ceará is also very windy: a characteristic shared by Brazil’s entire northeast coast. Of the country’s 653 wind farms, 82 percent are found in the Northeast. Ceará is the third-largest producer of wind power, behind Rio Grande do Norte and Bahia. In the blusteriest months, these farms produce enough electricity to power the entire region of over 50 million people.

 Renewable energy in Ceará is not set to stop there, either. The state government is working on a plan to build a green hydrogen plant on 500 hectares of commercial land at the Port of Pecém, northwest of state capital Fortaleza. The state intends to become a global supplier of this type of fuel, contributing to reducing emissions and expanding business opportunities and job creation in Ceará.

In order to get the project—called Base One—off the ground, the state government signed an agreement with Australian firm Enegix Energy in March, involving a promise to invest $5.4 billion into expanding green hydrogen in Ceará. Under the terms of the deal, Enegix will build the world’s largest green hydrogen plant, capable of producing over 600,000 tons per year from 3.4GW of combined baseload wind and solar power. Construction is expected to take up to four years.

Ceará on the Vanguard

“The entire world is moving toward the use of clean energy and we are in the vanguard, which will change our socioeconomic reality as we have all of the conditions necessary to produce and export green hydrogen,” said Ceará Governor Camilo Santana.

Enegix Energy CEO Wesley Cook added that the project will create “thousands of jobs during its construction, and hundreds after operations begin.”

Mr. Cooke emphasized that green hydrogen is a new way of producing energy without polluting and destroying the natural environment. “A hydrogen economy is possible now, and we must build it so that everyone may benefit from the most abundant element in the universe.”

The Base One project will represent Energix’s debut on the global market. Registered in Singapore and Australia, with its corporate headquarters in Switzerland, the company was set up with the goal of implementing and managing renewable energy networks powered by hydrogen. The element is a key component in Enegix's strategy, reads the company website, and will be used for “electricity storage and distribution, transportation, fuel applications and re-electrification power plants.”

Governor Santana stressed that the infrastructure at the Port of Pecém and international partnerships will facilitate exports, helping to make Ceará the first green hydrogen hub in Brazil—and in Latin America. He also noted the relatively short distances between his state and Europe, meaning that exports will be among the cheapest on the continent.

A Promising Future for Green Hydrogen

According to international forecasts, hydrogen will make up 18 percent of all energy consumed worldwide by 2050, drastically cutting carbon emissions and eliminating major pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate materials.

As part of this shift, the global transport sector is projected to consume 20 million fewer barrels of gasoline per day. This would, in turn, increase energy security and more closely link economic growth to sustainable development, generating revenue of over $2.5 trillion a year and employing over 30 million people around the world.

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Brazil Institute

The Brazil Institute—the only country-specific policy institution focused on Brazil in Washington—works to foster understanding of Brazil’s complex reality and to support more consequential relations between Brazilian and US institutions in all sectors. The Brazil Institute plays this role by producing independent research and programs that bridge the gap between scholarship and policy, and by serving as a crossroads for leading policymakers, scholars and private sector representatives who are committed to addressing Brazil’s challenges and opportunities.  Read more