The Community of Madrid will open in 2024 the first green hydrogen plant in Spain produced from reclaimed water. The Governing Council has validated the award of the Canal de Isabel II contract for the construction and operation of its first hydrogen generation with an investment of 7.3 million euros. The forecast is for the works to be carried out over the next 13 months and for the new facility to come into operation in the middle of next year. It will be built in Pinto, in the Arroyo Culebro Cuenca Media Alta WWTP, and its initial capacity will be around 80,000 kilos of hydrogen per year. This is a cutting-edge project because Canal de Isabel II will produce hydrogen in this plant from reclaimed water (treated water that receives additional treatment). It will do so through electrolysis, using the hybridization of two renewable technologies as an energy source: photovoltaic solar generation and biogas cogeneration from the use of waste from the treatment plant itself. Thanks to the tertiary treatment applied at this facility, Canal de Isabel II will be able to supply reclaimed water to cover all the demand required by the electrolyser (12 liters of water are needed to produce 1 kilo of hydrogen). Thus, it will be unique because it will obtain all the energy necessary for its operation from renewable sources, produced at the facility itself, and because it will be the first plant in Spain to use recycled water as a source of hydrogen generation instead of drinking water.
In addition, the oxygen produced during electrolysis, by separating the water molecules, will be used to improve the purification treatment received by the wastewater that reaches this WWTP, where the pollution generated by 1.2 million inhabitants is treated. Thanks to this Community of Madrid project, which will make it possible to compare the possible uses of hydrogen and make the most of its potential, Canal de Isabel II will open a new route for sustainable mobility, the electrification of heavy transport and the decarbonisation of industrial processes . Renewable hydrogen is positioning itself as one of the main energy vectors of the future as it is storable, transportable and climate neutral. In addition, it does not generate polluting emissions during its production and consumption.
With the construction of the green hydrogen plant on its land, the Arroyo Culebro Cuenca Media Alta de Pinto treatment plant is once again the forerunner of a cutting-edge project in the field of circular economy. Already in 2007 it was the first to supply totally recycled water to manufacture 100% recycled paper. The WWTP, which can produce up to 30 million liters of conventional reclaimed water daily for irrigation of green areas or street cleaning, has an even more advanced regeneration treatment using ultrafiltration membranes and reverse osmosis. This allows it to generate up to 12 million liters of top-quality reclaimed water per day, suitable for use in industrial processes, and now also for the production of green hydrogen. These functionalities differentiate it from the rest of the purification stations in the Community of Madrid and make it a benchmark in Spain for the regeneration of treated wastewater.