The hydrogen sector made headway this week as technology agreements were sealed, financing was secured and new projects emerged.

Exxon Mobil Corp. has selected companies to provide hydrogen and carbon capture technologies for the massive hydrogen facility in development in Baytown, Texas.

In Belgium, Ineos said it has secured $3.7 billion in financing for Project ONE, a green cracker plant that will be capable of operating with low-carbon hydrogen.

In wind energy news, BP made headlines with its entry into the South Korean offshore wind market. TotalEnergies also announced it will jointly develop the Formosa 3 wind farm offshore Taiwan with Corio Generation.

Here’s a look at some of this week’s renewable energy news.


Honeywell, Topsoe Land Contracts for Exxon’s Planned Hydrogen Plant

Exxon Mobil Corp. sealed agreements with Topsoe and Honeywell for hydrogen technology and carbon capture technology, respectively, for use at the hydrogen plant the supermajor is developing in Baytown, Texas.

The facility could become the world’s largest low-carbon hydrogen plant when it starts up by 2028, producing about 1 Bcf/d of hydrogen.

“The scale of this project is expected to enable up to a 30% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions from our Baytown facility by switching from natural gas as a fuel source to low-carbon hydrogen,” Dan Ammann, president of Exxon Mobil Low Carbon Solutions, said in a news release.

The project is expected to pave the way toward decarbonizing not only Exxon’s operations but also other Houston-area facilities.

“Once complete, this ambitious project will result in hydrogen that can be used for low-carbon fuels and chemicals to help meet global net zero targets,” said Elena Scaltritti, chief commercial officer, for Topsoe.

Topsoe’s SynCOR hydrogen technology, which the company said is based on advanced autothermal reforming to produce large amounts of hydrogen, will be used.

Honeywell plans to integrate its CO2 Fractionation and Hydrogen Purification System at the facility. Plans include capturing about 7 million tons of CO2 per year for the project, which Honeywell said is the equivalent to the annual emissions of about 1.5 million vehicles.

“The use of Honeywell’s technology enables Exxon Mobil to reduce CO2 emissions at a large scale,” said Barry Glickman, vice president and general manager of Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions. “Our ready-now carbon capture technology works to decarbonize production processes and is effective because it can allow for significant emissions reduction that can play a major role in the energy transition.”

Hydrogen-fueled Research Vessel in the Works

Glosten vessel
Illustration of the hydrogen-fueled research vessel (Source: Glosten)

The University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography plans to build a hydrogen-fueled research vessel it commissioned to ABS Class.

The work comes as the energy industry works to make hydrogen fuels available in hard-to-abate sectors such as shipping.

“This project will be closely watched by the industry as it breaks new ground and demonstrates the capabilities of this promising alternative fuel at sea,” ABS CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki said.

The 150-ft Glosten-designed vessel will feature a hydrogen-hybrid propulsion system that integrates hydrogen fuel cells alongside a conventional diesel-electric power plant, enabling zero-emission operations, ABS said in a news release.

“The design is scaled so the ship will be able to operate 75% of its missions entirely using hydrogen,” the release stated. “For longer missions, extra power will be provided by diesel generators.”

The vessel will also include advanced instruments, a sensing system and laboratories.

Naturgy, Enagas Plan Green Hydrogen Project in Spain

Spanish utility Naturgy and gas grid operator Enagas on Feb. 14 unveiled a project to build a $521.47 million renewable hydrogen plant in northern Spain.

The project, scheduled to start production in 2026, will have a capacity of about 280 megawatts (MW) and will be located in La Robla, on the site of a Naturgy’s thermal power plant, which closed in 2020, the two companies said in a joint statement.

Green hydrogen—hydrogen isolated from water or natural gas molecules with renewable energy—is seen as a long-term solution to decarbonizing heavy transport, including commercial shipping and airlines. Spain has signaled its ambition to become a major player, with its plentiful solar and wind power and proximity to the sea, providing multiple renewable energy options.

Ineos Lands $3.7 Billion in Financing for Green Cracker in Europe

Project ONE
The plant, expected to startup in 2026, will produce ethylene. (Source: Ineos)

Ineos said Feb. 13 it has secured $3.7 billion in financing for the new cracker plant it is developing and will be capable of operating with low-carbon hydrogen.

Called Project ONE, the Antwerp, Belgium, plant will produce ethylene, a raw material used in a wide range of products such as for healthcare, insulation, lightweight vehicles and medical plastics, the company said.

The financing comprises about $1.6 billion of uncovered debt, about $1.3 billion of covered facilities from export credit agencies and an $855 million covered tranche, of which up to $534 million is guaranteed by Gigarant, which supports Flemish businesses with loan guarantees, Ineos said in a news release. It noted the project is supported by 21 commercial banks.

“We are thrilled to reach this milestone and secure this funding,” said Ineos Project ONE CFO Jason Meers. “Bringing together such a large number of environmentally focused commercial banks alongside four governmental agencies demonstrate the huge importance of the project.”

The plant is expected to startup in 2026.


Electrify America Starts Construction of 75-MW Solar Project in California

Electrify America
Electrify America’s solar farm in San Bernardino County, California, is scheduled to come online this summer. (Source: Electrify America)

Electric vehicle charging network provider Electrify America has broken ground on its 75-MW solar photovoltaic renewable generation project in San Bernardino County, Calif., the company said Feb. 15, having lined up last year a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement with Terra-Gen.

Called Solar Glow 1, the project is expected to have an annual production of about 225,000 MW/h after it comes online in late summer.

“The groundbreaking of Solar Glow 1 is an important step towards additional annual renewable energy generation comparable to the energy used by over 20,000 American homes annually,” Jigar Shah, head of energy services at Electrify America, said in a news release.

California-headquartered Electrify America owns one of the largest DC fast-charging networks in the U.S. backed 100% by renewable energy. The company has said it plans to invest $2 billion in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, access and education programs over a 10-year period.

Nabors SPAC Merges with Australian Solar Firm Vast

Australian solar firm Vast Solar will go public, agreeing to merge with a special purpose acquisition company backed by Nabors Industries in a deal valued at $586 million, the companies said on Feb. 14.

The merger with Nabors Energy Transition Corp., which marks the largest energy transition investment to date for oilfield services company Nabors Industries, will bring the combined company to the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol VSTE.

The move came as energy companies work to lower global emissions to slow global warming. 

Sydney-based Vast created a concentrated solar power (CSP) energy system that uses mirrors to concentrate and capture heat from the sun in solar receivers. The heat is transferred by way of liquid sodium, which is then stored in molten salt. The energy can remain in storage or be used for either electricity or heat.

Vast said its CSP system’s modular tower design and unique sodium loop for the heat transfer is designed to improve efficiency, simplify permitting, hasten construction and enable more reliable operations, all while tackling intermittency.

Coldwell Solar Acquires Solar Project in California

Utility-scale solar developer Coldwell Solar has acquired a 1-gigawatt (GW) solar project in California with plans to use some of the energy generated to produce hydrogen on site, the company said in a Feb. 16 news release.

“We are excited about the $2 billion project and look forward to a meeting with the governor’s office to discuss the solar and battery specifics, with up to 20% of the project earmarked for hydrogen production including a hydrogen filling station,” CEO Dave Hood said.

The Rocklin, Calif.-based company recently sold a 220-MW project to NextEra, he said.


BP Moves into South Korea with Deep Wind Offshore JV

BP has entered South Korea’s wind sector, having formed a joint venture with Deep Wind Offshore and acquiring a 55% stake in the Norway-based company’s offshore wind portfolio.

The companies said Feb. 15 they plan to work together to develop offshore wind opportunities in South Korea, where leaders aim to generate nearly 22% of the country’s energy from renewable resources by 2030.

“South Korea is an exceptional market to expand our growing offshore wind footprint,” Matthias Bausenwein, BP’s senior vice president of offshore wind, said in a news release. “We are very happy to be working with a partner as strong as Deep Wind Offshore, which has managed to build a strong local team and develop these projects in collaboration with a variety of Korean stakeholders.”

Deep Wind’s pipeline of projects offshore South Korea include Rising Sun, suitable for floating turbine foundations; Western Wind, suitable for fixed bottom or floating; and the shallow-water Admiral Lee and Abalone. Combined, the projects could generate up to 6 GW, BP said in the release. The two companies plan to install more wind measurement systems and secure electricity business licenses for the four projects, which are going through the permitting process.

The partnership formed as BP continues to grow its offshore wind business in the U.S., the U.K. and other parts of the world.

“There is a great fit between our highly competent development team and the bp execution capabilities,” said Deep Wind Offshore CEO Knut Vassbotn. “We look forward to integrating our teams to realize the projects in a sustainable manner, in close collaboration with local stakeholders to bring both clean electricity to the country and opportunities to local supply chain and communities.”

Siemens Gamesa Proposes New Nacelle Facility in New York

Siemens Gamesa
A 3D visualization of the proposed Siemens Gamesa offshore nacelle facility, to be built in New York state. (Source: Siemens Gamesa)

Siemens Gamesa said Feb. 13 the company plans to build an offshore nacelle manufacturing facility at New York’s Port of Coeymans if state authorities choose to use the company’s turbines.

If the company moves ahead with the proposed facility, the move would represent an investment of about $500 million and create about 420 direct jobs, according to a news release. The facility would position the company to supply nacelles, which houses components such as the generator, gearbox, electronics and shafts, to companies developing wind projects along the U.S. East Coast.

“The announcement of this proposed facility in New York is a major step forward in our desire to lead the massive U.S. offshore wind market,” said Marc Becker, CEO of Siemens Gamesa’s offshore business. “We’re excited by the opportunity presented by the State of New York to further develop our manufacturing footprint.”

New York plans to procure at least 2 GW of offshore wind energy and up to 4.7 GW in the third round of procurement to achieve a total of 9 GW of offshore wind energy, the release stated.

TotalEnergies, Corio Partner to Develop Offshore Wind Project in Taiwan

Renewable energy developers TotalEnergies and Corio Generation will jointly develop the Formosa 3 offshore wind project in Changhua County off the coast of Taiwan, TotalEnergies announced in a Feb. 16 press release.  

Formosa 3 includes three potential windfarms—Haiding 1, 2 and 3. Environmental Impact Assessment approvals were completed in 2018 with an approved capacity of around 2 GW. In December 2022, Taiwan’s Bureau of Energy awarded Haiding 2,600 MW of grid capacity in its round three of auctions. 

Under the joint venture agreement, Corio is the majority shareholder and lead developer with 50% and 10 shares overall in project. 

The wind farm project adds to both companies’ extensive renewable energy portfolios, with Total and Corio also having developed wind energy projects together in the U.K., South Korea and France, both offshore and onshore.  

“Our two companies have a longstanding relationship and strong track record in developing projects across Europe and Asia-Pacific, and so we are absolutely delighted to be working together again in Taiwan,” said CEO of Corio Jonathan Cole. “Corio has one of the largest offshore wind project portfolios worldwide with more than 20 GW in development.”

“This marks a new step toward supporting Taiwan’s energy transition, bringing sustainable, low-cost energy to the country,” said TotalEnergies’ Vincent Stoquart, senior vice president renewables. “It also demonstrates our dedication to build up our global multi-energy business model through a series of investments to grow our worldwide renewable portfolio from 17 GW in 2022 to 35 GW in 2025, in line with our ambition to be one of the top five renewables developers by 2030.” 

UK Delays Planning Decision on Orsted’s Hornsea 4 Windfarm

Britain delayed until mid-July a decision on whether to grant permission for Ørsted’s giant Hornsea Four offshore windfarm, whose footprint on the sea floor partially overlaps that of a BP-led carbon capture project.

The planned 2.6-GW windfarm and the Endurance carbon capture and storage projects are caught in a standoff over this overlap zone due to the risk of boats used to monitor carbon leaks colliding with wind turbines fixed to the sea floor.

The companies and British authorities have said they are committed to finding a solution to allow both projects to go ahead, but no breakthrough has been reached yet.

The British government has deemed both offshore windfarms and carbon capture projects crucial technologies to reach to its net-zero goals.

BP and its partners have said they plan to make a final investment decision on Endurance in mid-2023. A decision on the Hornsea wind farm had been scheduled for Feb. 22.

“A decision has been made to set a new deadline of no later than 12 July 2023 for deciding this application,” said Andrew Bowie, parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, in a statement dated Feb. 8.

"This is to enable my department to seek further information from the applicant and to ensure there is sufficient time to allow for consideration of this information by other interested parties.”

Ørsted did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Hart Energy staff and Reuters contributed to this article.