Expert insights: green hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels, an interview with Sandra Blázquez, Repsol Corporate Venturing

October 28, 2021

Renewable hydrogen is one of the strategic pillars to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. In a dedicated parallel session on green hydrogen at TBB, we will explore how a value chain approach can enable the implementation of large-scale green hydrogen projects that aim to decarbonise aviation fuels.

In preparation for the session, we spoke with representatives of EGHAC (the European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center), and the multi-energy provider Repsol that will also be participating in the session.

Carina Krastel is commercial director of EGHAC and will be moderating the session. As she explains, “The value chain approach consists of integrating all relevant actors required, especially end off-takers, to produce a decarbonised end-product. Taking this approach enables both risk-sharing and agile implementation. We are delighted to have Repsol participating in this parallel session. As the leading producer and consumer of hydrogen in Spain, Repsol has extensive experience throughout the entire hydrogen value chain, and is well placed to foster the development of a green hydrogen economy”.

As Sandra Blázquez Borrás, senior investment associate at Repsol Corporate Venturing explains, “At Repsol we are planning to invest €2549M over the entire green hydrogen value chain to reach an equivalent installed capacity of 1.9 GW by 2030.

Repsol plans to be present throughout the green hydrogen value chain, from renewable power generation, power storage, production of renewable hydrogen through multiple technologies (electrolysis, photo electrocatalysis, biomethane production to H2 transformation); uses at industrial sites (refinery, ammonia, methanol, the iron and steel industry); feedstock for the chemical industry; H2 transport uses (hydrogen refuelling stations); hydrogen e-fuels (road, aviation and marine industries) and H2 for power and heat (power storage, injection into grid, residential and commercial, industrial heat and power generation)”.

Decarbonising aviation

As for the prospect of decarbonising aviation, for Sandra it is clear that, “Today, electrification is not a valid alternative for aircraft. Batteries cannot provide enough energy for long hauls, so airlines are looking into the use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). These SAFs, such as e-jet, are produced with renewable hydrogen and can be used with current aeroplane engines, so they are one of the most immediate alternatives to decarbonise air transportation.

By using this e-fuels, aviation will already be able to reduce CO2 emissions by 34%. Chemically, these fuels are the same as the kerosene already in use. Aircraft will be able to carry the equivalent amount of energy that they do now, and continue covering long distances with the same high safety standards”.

Challenges ahead

“While prospects are positive,” continues Sandra, “there remain significant challenges that require attention: firstly, with the use of e-fuels, engine efficiency must be improved as a means to further reduce aircraft emissions. As for the direct use of hydrogen as an aviation fuel, whether used with fuel cells or directly combusted, new aircraft systems will have to be designed.

And there other challenges to overcome, such as hydrogen storage and how to develop a hydrogen infrastructure for fuel delivery, (likely, pipelines with near- or on-site liquefaction), as well as high-flow rate liquid refuelling”.

“Still” says Sandra, “the prospects are encouraging. According to the Hydrogen Powered Aviation report published by Clean Sky, the use of hydrogen in aviation could reduce the climate impact of flying by 50-75%.”

This topic will be discussed in depth at The Business Booster, where Carina Krastel and Sandra Blázquez will join other experts in the field for a dedicated parallel session on 4 November at 12:15 (breakout room 3).

To learn more, check out the agenda page.


Repsol is Emerald Sponsor of The Business Booster 2021.

About Repsol’s decarbonisation strategy

  • Repsol Strategic Plan 2021-2025 is based on decarbonisation to be achieved through a combination of electrification and low carbon products.
  • Repsol is present across the decarbonisation value chain as a multi-energy provider.
  • +€300M capital expenditures in low carbon businesses vs previous 2021 guidance, accounts for >30% of 2021 CAPEX.
  • Energy packs that fit into a more sustainable future:
    • 8 Mtpa CO2 reduction from efficiencies by 2025
    • 3 Mtpa waste avoided by 2030
    • >7 Mtpa CO2 emissions mitigated by 2030