Image: Power Engineering International
Due to its ability to reduce pollution and be produced locally from a variety of sources, hydrogen is projected to be a $130-billion industry in the U.S. by 2030 and a trillion-dollar industry globally. As the existing global energy capital, Texas is emerging as a hydrogen hub, with several key initiatives set to position the fuel source alongside traditional renewables, such as wind and solar power. The Lone Star State already produces over two million tons of hydrogen annually and is home to a vast network of hydrogen pipelines; it offers vast acreage required for carbon capture and storage, as well as a proficient workforce with overlapping skill sets between fossil fuel and hydrogen production.
H2@Scale is a U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) initiative that unites hydrogen industry leaders and entrepreneurs to develop affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage and utilization to decarbonize high-carbon sectors. In September 2020, Frontier Energy, in partnership with the University of Texas-Austin and the DoE, launched the project in Texas to design, build and operate the state’s first dedicated renewable hydrogen network.
Supported by the DoE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, along with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the $10.8-million initiative is set to span three years, with half of funding allocated to boosting power grid resilience and spurring job creation. The model of the project generates zero-carbon hydrogen on site via electrolysis with solar and wind power, as well as reforms renewable gas from a local landfill. H2@Scale represents the first time that both sources of renewable hydrogen are utilized in the same project, and demonstrates the ability of renewable hydrogen to be cost-effective across several applications, including transportation and power generation.
MMEX Resources Corp.
In May 2021, U.S. energy resource development company MMEX Resources Corp. signed a new project agreement to progress its first hydrogen clean fuels and carbon capture projects, along with the expansion of its site in Texas. Announced earlier in February, the company aims to develop solar energy farms in Texas to feed power to a planned hydrogen production and carbon capture project. MMEX has long held interest in developing solar farms in the West Texas area, and shifted its initial plan from building a refinery to producing hydrogen and ultra-low Sulphur fuel with CO2 capture technology.
The company is currently considering two different technologies – the first of which employs the steam reforming method of using natural gas to produce hydrogen, ultra-low Sulphur diesel and gasoline, with the facility using carbon capture and storage technologies to reduce emissions. The second development method is to build a plant, in partnership with Polaris Engineering Ltd., utilizing the Polaris proprietary process, known as UltraFuels 2, to transform light crude oil and condensates into ultra-low sulfur diesel, renewable diesel and gasoline.
La Porte Hydrogen Plant
Global industrial gases and engineering firm Linde brought its liquid hydrogen plant online in La Porte, Texas earlier this month, representing its fifth liquid hydrogen plant overall. The facility will supply over 30 tons of high-purity liquid hydrogen to meet growing energy demand, and is fed hydrogen from the company’s 600km Gulf Coast pipeline, which contains more than 15 independent hydrogen production sources. The purified and liquefied end product is then delivered to a range of end users and industries, including material handling, mobility, aerospace, manufacturing, metals, energy and electronics.
With a stable feed supply and largest liquid hydrogen capacity and distribution system globally, Linde serves as a market leader in the production, processing, storage and distribution of hydrogen. The company also operates the world’s first high-purity hydrogen storage cavern and approximately 1,000km of pipeline network. Having installed nearly 200 hydrogen fueling stations and 80 hydrogen electrolysis plants globally, Linde has been at the forefront of the emerging hydrogen industry and a first mover in the integrated clean energy space.