To ensure that rural areas can continue to play the essential roles they currently do, the long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas up to 2040 has been set up. In this framework, the European Startup Village Forum, through its “pledges”, aims to support innovation, sustainability at the European level, to generate a positive impact in many ways.
The following pledge proposes Hontoria, a small town in the central area of Spain, as an ideal Startup Village to deploy the first PEM electrolyser factory in the country. Enagás, as the main gas TSO in Spain and with presence in 7 other countries, in its firm conviction to become a carrier of renewable gases, is the initial promoter that bets in 2020 for the constitution and acceleration of H2Greem, the first Spanish company that designs, manufactures and commercializes electrolyzers for the production of green H2 (owned technology).
The company has made so far an investment in the startup of around 300.000€ and with the forecast of new investments of Enagás and other investors around 1-1,5 MM€ in the short therm, H2Greem projects the leap from the laboratory to industrialization, for which the location of the town of Hontoria, strategically located in the central region of the country, is proposed.
Nowadays, the Company already carry out their activities from this small village located in the region of Castilla y León, in the province of Segovia, where less than 500 inhabitants are living today. Following the startup’s values, interests and willing to contribute to one of the EU’s objectives regarding geographical democracy, Hontoria is as well the location chosen by Enagás to locate H2Greem. From there, H2Greem will lead the manufacture of green hydrogen electrolyzers, and where the next stage of business development will be built.
The increasing global interest in the hydrogen sector is clearly reflected in the growth of the company, so H2Greem plans to scale up from the laboratory to the industrialization of its process, aiming to respond to this demand. The target market for H2Greem goes from the industrial range to high production for supply in gas networks. All of this being framed in a country that hosts more than half of the European production capacity planned for this type of technology.
In addition, the initiative aims to contribute to mitigating one of the country’s major current problems, the massive concentration of the population in very specific points of the territory, which implies a further general issue regarding the lack of resources and opportunities of the so called «empty Spain», where the rural exodus has affected progress and development, harming these areas and limiting their growth. Hontoria would be a witness and active party in the construction project of this factory, which is estimated to last 2 years and has a total budget of 0.4-0.6M€.
In addition, H2Greem’s sales plan includes the sale of electrolysers in 2022 for a value of more than 680,000 € and the already mentioned imminent entry of new investors in its shareholding will give even more value to the startup. In this favourable stage of H2GReem’s development, to continue hosting the activity of the Company would mean for Hontoria a powerful trigger for the attraction of new projects to the area. This doesn’t only mean a great opportunity offered to the talent of the area, but also the ability to generate and attract qualified quality employment (including specialized jobs) linked to the activity, and therefore income that will directly and positively impact the economy of the region. At this moment, H2Greem already has 6 workers, all of them highly qualified, working from Hontoria.
In addition to the dynamizing effect on the service sector that the factory will have imminently, it is very likely that suppliers, both generic and technology, will be able to locate or frequently visit H2Greem’s facilities. The boost that can be given to H2Greem by this project is strengthened by contributing jointly to two important common objectives: promoting the production of green hydrogen in Spain and attracting industrial activity, talent and employment to rural areas with a lot of potential for development and much to contribute to the energy landscape.
Hontoria would therefore become the Spanish town where the first factory of hydrogen producing equipment is located, playing an strategic role in the long-awaited decarbonization of energy.