Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has announced that construction will begin next year on a $4bn, 1GW green hydrogen and e-fuels project in the South American country.

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The 1GW electrolyser, plus the CO2 capture and synthetic gasoline facilities, will cost a total of $2bn, while another 2GW of wind and solar power, including transmission lines, will cost a further $2bn, energy minister Omar Paganini told a press conference in the western city of Paysandú.

Curiously, neither the president nor the minister revealed who will construct the project — to be built 7km north of the city — but a press release by state-owned oil company ANCAP stated that HIF Global, a Chilean e-fuels producer and developer, had been selected.

“The project in Paysandú foresees the production of 180,000 tons per year of e-gasoline from the capture of 710,000 tons per year of CO2 from the combustion of biomass and distillation of cereal ethanol and the production of 100,000 tons of green hydrogen by year,” says the ANCAP press release.

“To this end, it is planned to install a 1GW alkaline electrolyzer and the installation of an additional 2GW of renewable electricity generation in the country, from solar photovoltaic and wind sources.”

The synthetic gasoline, which can be used in existing petrol vehicles, will be exported to foreign markets via the Uruguay river, which separates Paysandú from Argentina.

A competitive process was launched by ANCAP in September last year for “conceptual projects” that would use CO2 captured at an ethanol production facility operated by Alcoholes del Uruguay (ALUR).

HIF Global won the tender and will combine the CO2 with green hydrogen to produce synthetic gasoline for export, in conjunction with ANCAP and ALUR.

HIF already operates the world’s first e-fuels facility, the landmark Haru Oni project in southern Chile, which recently began exporting its synthetic gasoline to German car maker Porsche in Europe, and it is also due to begin construction of a 1.8GW green hydrogen and e-fuels facility in Texas next year.

The company has not yet publicly commented on the award, but ANCAP states that the Uruguayan project “is classified as a high priority in the international expansion strategy of the HIF Group”.

A press release on the Uruguayan president’s official website site erroneously states that Lacalle Pou said construction on the Paysandú project will begin in 2023, but a YouTube video of the press conference reveals that he actually said “el año que viene”, which means “the coming year” or “next year”.