MULTIPLE COMPANIES from Australia, Europe, and North America have shown interest in bidding for hydrogen contracts in the Philippines, the Department of Energy (DoE) said.

“(The department was) pleasantly surprised by the level of interest in the areas we are bidding out for hydrogen exploration,” Energy Undersecretary Alessandro O. Sales said in a virtual briefing last week.

In February, the Energy department launched the bidding for coal, petroleum, and native hydrogen exploration in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and other parts of the country.

Under the 2024 Philippine bid round, two pre-determined areas for native hydrogen adjacent to the northern portion of the Zambales Ophiolite Complex and the western portion of Central Luzon are up for bidding.

Both are located in the provinces of Zambales and Pangasinan, covering an estimated 134,096 hectares and 96,439 hectares, respectively.

The deadline for the submission of bids for native hydrogen is Aug. 27.

“These hydrogen contracts are in fact novel in today’s world because, apparently, it’s only the Philippines that has bid an area purposely for hydrogen exploration,” Mr. Sales said.

The DoE recognizes the role of hydrogen in the energy transition “as an innovation capable of meeting future energy demand with various applications in the power, transportation, commercial, and industrial sectors,” the department said.

It organized the Hydrogen Energy Industry Committee to oversee the implementation of a circular dated Jan. 12, which provides the national policy framework and roadmap for hydrogen development.

“The naturally occurring hydrogen has been discovered in Mali and in France so that explains also the high interest in the part of the Europeans. I am sure that even our East Asian neighbors will also be looking at the opportunities in this area,” Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said.

Mr. Sales said that “Japan is moving forward with hydrogen but from a different point of view that is manufacturing hydrogen and as well as China, that is their direction to manufacture hydrogen from electrolysis.”

“But what we’re doing is enabling the other side of it, producing naturally occurring hydrogen,” he said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera