NEOM project in Saudi Arabia: Cities prepare to be more sustainable

Mario Gómez, Commercial Manager of Solek Chile, explains what Green Hydrogen is, its importance for the future of cities and tells us about the news of a pilot project of the Czech company in Chile.

Modernity and its non-stop advance means that cities have to rethink themselves in order to make them habitable. Currently, Santiago de Chile has 837 KM2[1] and is in the 41st position of the largest cities in the world. Traveling from one end of the city to the other is exhausting for most workers, not to mention the Carbon Footprint they generate.

Returning to liveable, safe and environmentally friendly places is what NEOM proposes, the ambitious project of the futuristic megapolis that Saudi Arabia hopes to build. The city will stretch for 170 km, yet it hopes to present itself as the first car-free city on the entire planet. Its inhabitants will have their daily needs just a five-minute walk away, high-speed trains with stations at each end of the city and a journey of only 20 minutes.

Another of the challenges of the project is to be completely powered by non-conventional renewable energies and reach zero neutrality in 2060, achieving a temperate climate throughout the year with only natural ventilation. The city would eventually house the largest Green Hydrogen -HV- plant in the world.

Mario Gómez, Commercial Manager of Solek Chile, indicates that the HV is a great alternative to power energetically a place that needs a lot of demand: “As is this project in the Middle East. In addition, it is a great option for Chile, because our country has all the possibilities to establish itself as a world power in this element”.

The executive explains that HV is a normal hydrogen gas, “but it is given this green denomination because the plant where the electrolysis is applied – the chemical process that is carried out to produce it – comes from a renewable matrix. 80% of the energy consumed by this plant is NCRE and the remaining 20% ​​is water. The water enters an electrolyser, which separates the hydrogen from the oxygen in the water. The hydrogen is stored – to be used later as energy – and the oxygen is the emission of the plant”, he affirms.

According to the specialist, Solek already has a pilot project in the Port of San Antonio that hopes to benefit not only the port but also the entire community of the coastal city: “The idea is to be able to change all the machinery of the port that works at diesel to run on hydrogen cells. The Region V project is in an advanced pre-feasibility stage and is expected to start operating in 2023.

“The news of NEOM is very important and shows the desire that the Arab nation has to get on this bandwagon. They are not resting on the laurels of fossil fuels, which they have in large quantities, but are thinking about building a sustainable future for their nation and the world. The HV is a great help that can promote and create friendly cities with the environment, although state support is also needed to promote its adoption. The Arabs are understanding it and for that reason they go with everything”, says Gómez.

NEOM project in Saudi Arabia: Cities prepare to be more sustainable