ASTANA, 6 December – Kazakhstan has the opportunity to become one of the top green hydrogen exporting countries, said Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Almas Aidarov in a recent interview with The Astana Times, meanwhile, Kazakhstan plans to start producing green hydrogen via a $50 billion project by the end of the decade to help Europe to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and European Council President Charles Michel discussed the green hydrogen production and distribution center in the Mangystau region in Astana on Oct. 27. Photo credit: Akorda.
“Green hydrogen is a quite new concept,” explained Aidarov. “Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. It is zero-carbon. The source of electricity is also green – wind and sun. Large countries and cities understand that renewables alone will not be enough. They have to import sustainably generated hydrogen.”
Small-scale production of green hydrogen is economically inefficient and expensive. Due to this, the large-scale production is more effective.
Kazakhstan has been working with the Svevind company on wind and solar farms in the Mangystau Region for two years. The plan is to produce two million tons of green hydrogen.
The green electricity will feed 30 GW of electrolysis to produce three million tons of green hydrogen. The project is expected to launch hydrogen production as early as 2030 and reach full capacity around 2032.
During her recent visit to Kazakhstan German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was so surprised at the scale of the coming Svevind project that she compared the land allocated for its solar power production in western Kazakhstan to the size of the federal land of Brandenburg, 27,000 square kilometers.
“Why Kazakhstan? Because we have extensive areas and wind all year round. We went to Sweden and saw what they did 20 years ago. They launched the largest onshore wind power project in Northern Sweden in 2001. Now the company is studying our region,” he said.
On the other hand, Svevind Energy Group, the company behind Europe’s largest wind farm in Sweden, signed an agreement with Kazakhstan’s government to build a 20 gigawatt green hydrogen plant that is expected to be one of the world’s largest.
The electrolyzers will be able to produce up to 2 million tons of green hydrogen per year from 2032, the equivalent to about one-fifth of the EU target for imported green hydrogen in 2030.
“The investment agreement signed today takes the project into the next, decisive phase,” said Wolfgang Kropp, founder and CEO of Svevind Energy Group. “Kazakhstan is the ideal hosting country for the project as it has excellent year-round wind conditions and solar radiation.”
The industrial park of electrolyzers will be fed by wind and photovoltaic plants with total capacity of around 40 gigawatts in the flat grasslands of southwest Kazakhstan. Produced by using renewable electricity, with no carbon dioxide emissions, green hydrogen is a key element of the European Union’s plan to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and decarbonize energy-intensive industries. The bloc wants to produce 10 million tons of green hydrogen and import the same amount from abroad by the end of the decade.
Despite those credentials, producing green hydrogen can be complicated and expensive. High energy prices, driven by Russia’s war in Ukraine, have improved the economics of hydrogen when compared to fossil fuels, and a wave of new projects are starting to take shape around the world. “Europe will not be able to produce all the green hydrogen it will need,” said Kropp. “We see Europe as an important market, one of the most advanced ones when it comes to support for green hydrogen, with Asia also a target market for the fuel.”