Greece hydrogen value chain gets $138m boost

Athens: Greece’s Vardinoyiannis Group-backed Motor Oil and the European Commission have signed the EU Innovation Fund Grant Agreement of €127m ($138m), for a pioneering Internet Registry Information Service (IRIS) project regarding the construction and operation of a Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCS) and e-methanol production system at Motor Oil’s Agioi Theodoroi Refinery.

The IRIS project is among the 41 projects selected, out of the 239 proposals submitted, under the second round of the EU Innovation Fund’s ‘large-scale’ calls for proposals, and just the third in Europe involving a Steam Methane Reformer.

The IRIS project will integrate several innovative industrial processes, on a scale that has never been implemented before in an independent refinery.

In particular, the project will contribute to a 25% reduction of the refinery’s CO2 emissions, and thus to the achievement of the industry’s national and EU carbon reduction targets. At the same time, there are plans to establish an innovative e-methanol production plant, which will be produced from the available renewable hydrogen and part of the captured carbon dioxide, which will be one of the first plants to be set up in Europe.

Part of Motor Oil Group’s ‘Blue Med’ strategic plan, the project aims at the development of a hydrogen value chain in Greece. The quantities of renewable hydrogen produced by the 30MW electrolysis plant under development in Motor Oil’s EPHYRA project will be supplemented by sufficient quantities of low-carbon hydrogen that will comply with the prescribed limits of the EU Classification Regulation.

The launch of the construction of the project, once all the necessary individual agreements have been completed and the final investment decision has been obtained by the company, is expected to start in mid-2025 with a three-year completion deadline, so as to be operational in mid-2028, according to the timetable approved by the European Commission.

George Triantafyllou, gm of strategy at Motor Oil Group, said: “Motor Oil Group is determined to guide the industry’s energy transition and play a leading role in achieving the industrial decarbonisation goals and in establishing the hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives market in Greece.

“The funding from the European Union’s Innovation Fund marks a major milestone for the Group. We remain committed and fully aligned to the €4bn energy transition plan that has been announced, having invested €1bn up to now in this direction.

“We are leading the way, utilising our competitive advantages and we are committed to implementing emblematic and pioneering projects and investments, that will accelerate the transformation of our country’s energy mix, on the road to ensuring energy autonomy.”