More companies are vying for some of the $8 billion in federal funding that will be doled out by the U.S. Department of Energy for hydrogen hubs.
News of hydrogen hub partnerships emerged this week from companies in the northwest, Gulf Coast and Alaska as the deadline for concept papers for potential projects arrived.
The funds, made available thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, aim to scale up production of hydrogen, which is seen as crucial for reducing emissions from hard-to-decarbonize and energy-intensive sectors such as aviation, shipping and steel.
Here’s a look at some of this week’s renewable energy news.
Freyr Selects Georgia for New Battery Manufacturing Site
Freyr Battery, a Luxembourg-based battery cell manufacturer, said Nov. 11 it will build a Giga America battery plant in Coweta County, Georgia, initially spending about $1.7 billion.
Located on a 368-acre tract at the Bridgeport Industrial Park, the multiphase project will start with a battery cell production module of about 34 GWh, the company said in a news release. It will utilize partner 24M’s SemiSolid technology to produce the lithium-ion batteries.
News of the plant comes as the company aims to meet growing customer demand for energy storage systems (ESS) applications. It also comes as government incentives encourage companies to pursue clean energy projects.
“Expanding into the U.S. has been a foundational aspect of Freyr’s long-term strategy from our inception,” said Freyr CEO Tom Einar Jensen, “and with the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, we expect U.S. demand for ESS, passenger EV [electric vehicle] and other electric mobility applications to grow rapidly over the next decade.”
The company said it was evaluating additional value accretive upstream and downstream modules and a second cell production phase, which would bring total capital investments to more than $2.6 billion by 2029.
Detailed plant engineering is expected to begin in the coming months, Freyr said.
Macquarie Launches Global Battery Platform
Macquarie Asset Management’s Green Investment Group (GIG) will launch a global battery platform called Eku Energy, the company said Nov. 7.
The standalone business will develop, build and manage a portfolio of energy storage assets with an initial portfolio comprised of the consolidated existing battery storage activities of GIG in the U.K., Australia, Japan and Taiwan.
“Battery storage is critical to maximizing the role for renewables in our energy mix by enabling the delivery of dispatchable clean energy,” Eku Energy interim CEO Chris Morrison said in a news release. “We’re excited to be at the leading edge of this journey, delivering the investment and projects at scale that will be key to net zero.”
The platform will have 190 MWh of flexible storage capacity under construction on completion of the launch and a further pipeline of over 3 GWh of capacity in Australia, Japan, Taiwan and the U.K.
“Subject to receipt of relevant regulatory approvals, Eku will hold a pipeline of developed, acquired or identified projects totaling over 3 GWh, including a 150 MW/150 MWh project in Australia at the site of the decommissioned Hazelwood coal-fired power station in Victoria,” the release said. “At launch, Eku will also hold one project under construction in the U.K.—a 40 MW/40 MWh facility in Essex.”
JX Nippon, 8 Rivers Target Gulf Coast for Net-zero Projects
Carbon capture specialist JX Nippon Oil Exploration (USA) Ltd. will consider commercial-scale deployment of North Carolina-based 8 Rivers Capital’s technologies for ammonia and other net-zero projects on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The two said Nov. 9 they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to evaluate such potential projects. Looking to decarbonize power and hydrogen generation globally, the latest MoU builds on a relationship formed last year focused on finding and developing opportunities in the carbon capture market.
“As part of their new initiative, JX and 8 Rivers intend to develop a CO2-rich gas calibration program, aiming to economically utilize previously unusable fuel to produce clean energy while sequestering all the CO2, leveraging 8 Rivers’ technological expertise,” the release stated. “This program is only one example of how 8 Rivers and JX will work together to deploy technologies that enable the world to meet crucial climate targets.”
HyVelocity Hub Forms to Advance Gulf Coast Hydrogen
Air Liquide and Chevron are partnering with GTI Energy, The Center for Houston’s Future and The University of Texas at Austin to form the HyVelocity Hub and pursue funding available from the U.S. Department of Energy Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub program.
The partnership, announced Nov. 10, aims to advance hydrogen in Louisiana and Texas, which is currently one of the largest hydrogen producers in the U.S.
“The name ‘HyVelocity’ conveys the idea that we have a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the creation of a clean hydrogen market at the pace needed to meet aggressive decarbonization goals for communities in our nation and around the globe,” GTI Energy CEO Paula A. Gant said in a news release. “We need hydrogen deployment at scale, and this hub will lay the foundation with complete end-to-end demonstrations of an integrated network, match supply and demand regionally or locally and leverage existing infrastructure to deliver resilient, reliable and sustainable clean energy.”
A Houston-led clean hydrogen hub could abate 220 million tons of carbon emissions by 2050, according to the Houston Clean Hydrogen Roadmap. Founding members of the hub, along with other partner organizations, plan to build on goals outlined in the roadmap. These include meeting hydrogen needs for the refining and petrochemicals, new industrial applications, ground transportation, marine transportation and aviation, power and energy storage, and export.
Obsidian Renewables Vying for Hydrogen Hub Funds
Obsidian Pacific NW Hydrogen Hub has submitted a plan seeking funds from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a renewable electricity-powered hydrogen network in the northwest, according to a news release.
Leveraging private funding with $700 million of DOE funds for a multibillion-dollar project, the Obsidian Renewables-led joint venture will use wind and solar resources to produce electrolytic hydrogen. Its plans include a new hydrogen pipeline system to store, collect and distribute hydrogen to consumers across eastern Oregon and Washington.
“The Obsidian Pacific NW Hydrogen Hub is proud to work with our partners to establish a reliable, cost-efficient, renewable energy source in the region,” said David Brown, senior principal and co-founder of Obsidian Renewables. “Projects inspired by the hub will create thousands of good-paying, green jobs that will directly benefit disadvantaged communities throughout the region by diversifying local economies, reducing pollution, spurring training and apprenticeship programs and building new career opportunities in Washington and Oregon.”
Pertamina to Explore Green Hydrogen Projects with Keppel, Chevron
Indonesia’s state-owned energy firm Pertamina will explore the development of green hydrogen and ammonia projects in the country, along with Singapore-based Keppel Infrastructure and global oil major Chevron as part of a joint study agreement signed Nov. 10.
The companies intend to explore the feasibility of developing a green hydrogen facility in Sumatra, Indonesia, with a production capacity of at least 40,000 tonnes per annum, powered by 250-400 MW of geothermal energy in the initial phase, according to a statement dated Nov. 10.
“The hydrogen production facility could have the potential to scale up to 80,000-160,000 tonnes per annum, depending on the availability of geothermal energy as well as market demands,” the statement said.
The so-called green or clean hydrogen is made using electrolyzers powered by renewable energy to split water from oxygen, while blue hydrogen is made from natural gas with technology to capture and storage the CO2 emissions produced.
Alaska State Company Proposes Hydrogen Hub, Eyeing Federal Funds
The Alaska Gasline Development Corp. (AGDC) submitted a proposal for a hydrogen-production hub in the state to the U.S. DOE on Nov. 7.
The DOE said in February that the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $8 billion for regional clean hydrogen hubs to support efforts to cut U.S. emissions.
“The Alaska Hydrogen Hub concept anticipates using $850 million in DOE funding along with $3.75 billion in private-sector funds, backed by offtake agreements from hydrogen customers in the U.S. and Asia,” the Alaskan state-owned AGDC said.
The proposal envisions the hub initially producing over 600 tons of hydrogen a day, well over DOE’s minimum requirement of 50 tons per day for successful projects, before eventually ramping up to making 1,600 tons daily.
AGDC is also developing the $38.7 billion Alaska LNG project, that would move gas currently in northern Alaska across the state. The hub would use natural gas feedstock from the Alaska LNG project, the least carbon intensive LNG project in the U.S., and sequester carbon released during production, AGDC said.
The project is supported by companies, including Australian natural gas producer Santos Ltd. and agricultural chemicals maker Agrium U.S., which owns an idle ammonia plant near the planned facility of the Alaska LNG Project.
AGDC said last month that it will study the feasibility of producing ammonia, a hydrogen-rich fuel, in the state’s Cook Inlet region with Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and TOYO Engineering Corp. and Hilcorp Alaska.
Equinor Looks to Celtic Sea for Floating Wind Development
Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor on Nov. 7 said it was interested in developing a “gigawatt scale” floating offshore wind project off the coast of Britain in the Celtic Sea in connection with an upcoming seabed leasing round.
The project is part of Crown Estate plans to offer leases to the industry next year, Equinor said in a statement. The Estate manages the seabed and half the foreshore around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Equinor already operates the small 30-MW Hywind floating wind farm off the northeast coast of Scotland and is a partner in several other British offshore wind farms.
Floating wind farms are more expensive to develop than turbines that are fixed to the seabed but can be located in deeper waters.
RWE Wins Tender for 700-MW Dutch Offshore Wind Farm
German energy company RWE on Nov. 10 said it had won the right to build an offshore wind farm with a capacity of 700 MW in the Dutch part of the North Sea.
The wind farm will be built by a Dutch subsidiary of RWE that will get no subsidies on the energy produced.
Located around 50 km (31 miles) off the Dutch coast, the wind farm is expected to be operational by 2026 and should at that point provide the equivalent of around 6% of the current electricity consumption of the Netherlands, the Dutch government said in a separate statement.
“Winning this offshore site marks RWE’s entry into the Dutch offshore wind market, one of our key strategic growth markets in Europe,” RWE CEO Markus Krebber said.
The Netherlands aims to increase its offshore wind capacity to 21 GW by 2030, as part of its bid to reduce its CO2 emissions by 55% relative to 1990 levels by that time.
So far, a total capacity of 2.5 GW is operational, while a number of wind farms comparable in size to the one RWE will build are under construction.
Reuters contributed to this article.
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