Portugal's three main glass producers have joined a green hydrogen consortium.

The consortium, named Nazare Green Hydrogen Valley (NGHV), is led by Portugal-based renewable gas producer Rega Energy and includes glassmakers BA Glass, Crisal and Vidrala, among other industrial groups.

The NGHV project represents 10% of Portugal’s CO2 emissions within Portugal’s industrial sector.

NGHV brings together five energy intensive leading companies in industrial segments such as glass and cement markets operating in the central region of Marinha Grande, Leiria and Coimbra.

The consortium aims to change the way the Portuguese industrial sector approaches decarbonisation through mature and scalable technology.

It said it will lead the transition to cleaner energy produced from renewable sources such as solar energy, using circular economy practices through the use of wastewater.

NGHV’s initial investment is estimated at over €100 million, expected to scale up over time. By 2025, the consortium will employ over 1700 people, out of which 140 roles will be entirely new.

BA Glass, Vidrala and Crisal Managers’ Reinaldo Coelho, Carlos Barranha and Carlos Viegas, said in a joint statement:

"Through the consortium effort we want to endeavour Marinha Grande’s 300 years legacy in the glass industry.

“Glass must be carbon neutral to bring full value to society and a more circular economy.

“Glass plants cannot electrify the entirety of its energy needs, and we see NGHV delivering the compelling complementary solution glass needs though the supply of Green Hydrogen and Green Oxygen.”

Portugal, in line with European guidelines, aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions by between 45% and 55% from 2005 levels by 2030.

So-called green hydrogen, produced using electricity from renewable sources such as solar, is seen as a key power source that can reduce pollution from long-haul heavy transport and the cement, steel and glass industries.

This is the largest-scale project of this nature to be launched in Portugal," NGHV said. "By decarbonising these companies, it will cut a significant share of total carbon emissions by industry nationwide."

The consortium will develop the green hydrogen plant with an initial installed capacity of 40 megawatts (MW), which is expected to increase to up to 600 MW, it added.

The plant will be in central Portugal where the cement companies and glassmakers have their factories. The consortium expects to start installing the infrastructure by 2023 and bring it on stream by the end of 2025.

Water utility Aguas do Centro Litoral (ACL) and natural gas distribution company GGND are also part of the consortium.

Excess hydrogen not consumed by the consortium's factories can be injected into GGND's grid to feed other industries, it said.

ACL will supply waste water to the electrolysis plant, which will use solar energy to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.