French firm invests in PH’s first hydrogen plant in Zambo Sibugay

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 May) – The French company Hydrogène de France (HDF) will construct a P5-billion renewable-energy power plant in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay that will generate power from water, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said on Wednesday.

Olutanga Island, Zamboanga Sibugay. Map courtesy of Google

Carlos Cerezo, MinDA’s area management office head for Western Mindanao, said during “Wednesday at Habi at Kape” that the foreign direct investor would build a “hydrogen Renewstable” plant, the country’s first-ever hydrogen power plant that can supply power to the province.

The Philippine Information Agency, in its website, reported that the proposed plant will be built in the municipality of Talusan in Olutanga Island, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Cerezo explained that this facility works by separating hydrogen and oxygen through a process called “electrolysis.”

“Hydrogen is a technology that will provide power in place of fossil-based power plants. Internationally, that is being recognized. In fact, most industrial countries are shifting to the use of that, and we are lucky because HDF would like to invest in the Philippines,” he said.

He said this hybrid facility, which is also capable of storing power through its batteries, could generate 10 megawatts initially but added that HDF could expand the facility to produce up to 45 megawatts later on.

He said the local government has procured 60 hectares to host the plant.

Cerezo added that the HDF also plans to establish similar facilities in 10 additional areas across Mindanao.

He said that this plant is a game changer for Mindanao’s power industry because it can provide the island with a sustainable source of electricity and lessen its dependence on coal plants that supply more expensive power.

He said the cost of fossil fuel fluctuates as it is driven by the global market.

Once established, Cerezo said the plant would help stabilize power in Western Mindanao where some areas continue to experience rotating brownouts, more particularly in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

“Western Mindanao sits at the tail-end and experiences low voltage…. We need to have a power source that is located within so that it can also provide better services in terms of stable power,” he added.

Cerezo said the company is negotiating with Zamboanga del Sur II Electric Cooperative, Inc. for a possible supply agreement. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)