July 31, 2023 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 233
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In episode 233, Linde talks about their massive hydrogen project in Beaumont. And Cummins opens up about their work on electrolyzers.
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Linde talks about their massive hydrogen project in Beaumont. And Cummins opens up about their work on electrolyzers. All of this on today’s hydrogen podcast.
So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.
In an article in the Houston Chronicle, Courtney Peterson writes Linde to bring $1.8 billion hydrogen facility to Beaumont. Courtney writes within the next few months Southeast Texas will begin to see the signs of construction on a $1.8 billion complex that will produce hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen Linde a global industrial gas and engineering company will be building its new clean hydrogen project in Beaumont on twin city Highway South. The complex will be integrated into Linde’s existing Gulf Coast industrial gas infrastructure, and a quote from Jacob Keeling, the plant manager. The project is to build clean energy and infrastructure for the Beaumont area. What that means is that they’re putting in a hydrogen facility that has low carbon intensity. The company held a vendor fair Thursday, July 27, at the downtown Event Center to look for civil mechanical building general facilities, supplies, instrumentation, and temporary site facilities contractors, Keeling said the fair is meant to encourage collaboration between the company and the local community.
Keeling also says that Beaumont has a wealth of talent, and that they’re willing to tap into it because there’s just so much industry already there. He says we’re looking for opportunities to connect with the local community and the local contractors to try to really make the best project that we can together. Sanitary Supply Company Vice President David Henderson said his company attended the event to make contacts in the industry that uses their types of janitorial and Safety Supply products. Henderson said Sanitary Supply Company usually attends three to four vendor fairs, and they are typically really successful. He says we’re already working with OCI right next door to these guys. And with the contractors Henderson said also that Linde made a commitment to work with local vendors and that they’ve been in business there in Beaumont since 1937. So they’re pretty much local and just making our presence known with these folks. Linde gasses, US director of marketing and strategy, Brian Kelleher said the company will create about 1200 jobs during construction and 30 permanent positions. The facility will supply hydrogen and nitrogen to OCI is 1.1 million tonne per year blue ammonia plant in Beaumont. This according to the company and according to the project’s information sheet, Linde will supply OCI with clean hydrogen by sequestering more than 1.7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Linde will also use its extensive pipeline network to provide clean hydrogen to existing and new customers in the US Gulf Coast addressing the increasing demand for companies to decarbonize their operations. Clean hydrogen has no universally accepted definition, however, and largely refers to hydrogen produced with lower emissions than hydrocarbon based methods as opposed to hydrogen with no or extremely low emissions. Linde’s process is low carbon intensity and uses natural gas as well as hydrogen and oxygen this according to Keeling. So the process of producing hydrogen from natural gas is typically referred to as blue hydrogen and carries the potential for methane leakage among other potential emissions. However, the blue hydrogen process from autothermal reforming or splitting the hydrogen from methane, like Linde employs, has shown to create the least greenhouse gas emissions of other blue hydrogen processes.
This according to a study from the University of Alberta researchers that appeared in energy conversion and management. Again, according to Keeling, most people who use this don’t have a way to capture the carbon that’s removed, we do, we are able to capture most of the carbon and that’s what makes us low carbon intensity, which means that we don’t release pollutants into the environment Linde will also make hydrogen and oxygen at the plant. Again, according to Keeling, the atmosphere content of nitrogen is like roughly 79% We use cold temperatures to basically separate out the nitrogen and the oxygen Keeling said OCI will also be its main customer for nitrogen. However, there will be a lot of quote other customers that will be tapping into the nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen through their pipeline. He also said there’s a lot of infrastructure in the area that’s looking for clean hydrogen, and so they’ll be able to provide it to the infrastructure as well. Construction is expected to begin early in the fourth quarter of this year and be completed by the end of 2025. This according to Lende. Okay, so a great peek behind the curtains of a blue hydrogen project that lays out expected invested capital employment opportunities, contractor engagement, co2 capture and offtake agreements. Now we previously covered on the show the co2 storage agreement between Linde and Exxon and now we know the project that led to that agreement.
Now, while this article doesn’t say how much hydrogen they’ll be producing, we do know that they’re supplying enough hydrogen to OCI to cover their 1.1 million tons per year of blue ammonia with enough leftover to further supply other industrial needs in the Gulf Coast area. So we can assume that if hydrogen is roughly 17% of the volume of ammonia, then this facility will produce at least 200,000 tons per year of hydrogen to meet ocis goal again, with enough leftover for other industry. Now, that’s not a small number. Now, what I would like to know now is the off taker agreement from the blue ammonia with OCI. Where is that going? And who is the buyer? Next, in an article from power mag.com Aaron Larson writes hydrogen offers a multibillion dollar opportunity this decade for innovative companies. Hydrogen demand throughout the world reached 94 million metric tons in 2021. This according to the IEA in their global hydrogen review, 2022, which is an annual report issued by the IEA. In late September last year, demand for new applications grew about 40,000 metric tons, which is up 60% from 2020. Notably, the IEA said some key new applications for hydrogen are showing signs of progress. Announcements for new steel projects are growing fast, according to the agency just one year after the startup of the first demonstration project using pure hydrogen in direct reduction of iron. Furthermore, the First Fleet of hydrogen fuel cell trains started operating in Germany. There were also more than 100 pilot and demonstration projects reported using hydrogen and its derivatives and shipping and the IEA noted that major companies have already signed strategic partnerships to secure the supply of these new fuels.
In the power sector. The use of hydrogen and ammonia is also attracting a lot of attention. The report says announced projects stack up almost a three and a half gigawatts of potential capacity by 2030. With the future for hydrogen looking so bright, it’s no wonder companies are moving quickly to take advantage of the opportunity. Accelera a new brand launched in March of this year as part of Cummins new power business segment is among the companies hoping to cash in on the growth in hydrogen. It opened its first US electrolyzer manufacturing plant in Fridley, Minnesota with a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 19. Fridley was basically the fastest way for us to get capacity on stream quickly. This according to Alex Savelli, Managing Director of hydrogen technologies for Accelera. He said they announced it in October and they had the ribbon cutting ceremony in May. So that was within six months, while the Fridley site was a brownfield project, meaning it was built where Cummins already had an existing facility. Accelera is also building greenfield projects in other parts of the world. He says there are a couple of sites that we’ve actually selected 18 months ago to be built in Spain and China. He also said they’re Greenfield sites and from the beginning to completion, it will probably take two years before they’re up and running.
President Biden visited the Fridley facility on April 3 of this year as part of a tour intended to showcase how the bipartisan infrastructure law and inflation Reduction Act are benefiting American manufacturing jobs. It was just two months after Biden signed the IRA that Cummins announced it would begin manufacturing electrolyzers at its Fridley location, which now has about 89,000 square feet dedicated to electrolyzer manufacturing. Again, according to Savelli, quite a bit of that decision in a lot of ways was supported by some of the good policies that the current administration has put into place with the infrastructure bill, as well as the inflation Reduction Act. They’ve certainly underpinned our decision even more strongly. Since then, we have seen demand really pick up most of the hydrogen used around the world today is produced through Steam methane reforming using natural gas as feedstock, which can release carbon dioxide in the process. This is often referred to as gray hydrogen electrolyzer technology offers a way to produce green hydrogen, which is carbon free, and could help hard to decarbonize industries become more sustainable.
To produce green hydrogen, renewable resources are used to power the electrolyzers. Again, according to Savelli, we think the challenges around climate change and what we need to achieve to actually get to net zero, hydrogen would definitely be one of the big elements there, it will become a multibillion dollar opportunity, whether it’s here in the Americas, in Europe or in other places between now and the end of the decade. So great insights from Cummins, a company that has fully embraced the hydrogen movement. And from everything I’m hearing from the company, especially on the transportation side is that they’re looking into every hydrogen option available, including hydrogen internal combustion engines, fuel cells, and as this article is highlighting electrolyzers they’re also a great example, much like Bosch of larger companies ramping up r&d investments, and hydrogen and like Bosch, Cummins has jumped into the electrolyzer game. I recall reporting not too long ago that analysts feared a shortage of supply of electrolyzers. That doesn’t seem to be the case now with larger manufacturers ramping up production. So with that being the case, demand is still the number one issue for the hydrogen economy. But the good news is that it’s not an issue that’s being overlooked. Both private and governmental entities are working hard to find solutions to deliver cost reductions for utilizing hydrogen.
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