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Socio-environmental and Technical Factors Assessment of Photovoltaic Hydrogen Production in Antofagasta, Chile


This study introduces a method for identifying territories ideal for establishing photovoltaic (PV) plants for green hydrogen (GH2 ) production in the Antofagasta region of northern Chile, a location celebrated for its outstanding solar energy potential. Assessing the viability of PV plant installation necessitates a balanced consideration of technical aspects and socio-environmental constraints, such as the proximity to areas of ecological importance and indigenous communities, to identify potential zones for solar and non-conventional renewable energy (NCRE)-based hydrogen production. To tackle this challenge, we propose a methodology that utilizes geospatial analysis, integrating Geographic Information System (GIS) tools with sensitivity analysis, to determine the most suitable sites for PV plant installation in the Antofagasta region. Our geospatial analysis employs the QGIS software to identify these optimal locations, while sensitivity analysis uses the Sørensen–Dice coefficient method to assess the similarity among chosen socio-environmental variables. Applying this methodology to the Antofagasta region reveals that a significant area within a 15 km radius of existing road networks and electrical substations is favorable for photovoltaic projects. Our sensitivity analysis further highlights the limiting effects of socio-environmental factors and their interactions. Moreover, our research finds that enlarging areas of socio-environmental importance could increase the total hydrogen production by about 10% per commune, indicating the impact of these factors on the potential for renewable energy production.

Funding source: The researchers gratefully acknowledge the Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo de Chile (ANID) Project ACT210050 fund for the financial support of this study. In addition, the School of Mechanical Engineering at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) and Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) for their support during the execution of this research and the complete fee scholarship for the Intelligent Industry Doctorate Program of the Faculty of Engineering at PUCV.
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Chile ; Germany

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