Belgian-based hydrogen startup Tree Energy Solutions (TES) is teaming with TotalEnergies to produce synthetic natural gas with green hydrogen in the U.S.
The companies said May 31 they plan to produce up to 200,000 metric tons per yet of what is called electric natural gas (e-NG), or synthetic methane, at a U.S. production unit. The process will involve utilizing a 1-gigawatt (GW) electrolyzer to produce hydrogen powered by about 2 GW of wind and solar energy. The hydrogen will then be combined with biogenic CO2 to create the synthetic fuel.
The project, which would be the first for TotalEnergies pending a financial investment decision in 2024, will help companies aiming to decarbonize operations in hard-to-electrify sectors, according to Stéphane Michel, president of gas, renewables and power at TotalEnergies.
“First, it does not require new logistical infrastructure since e-NG and natural gas have the same properties and can therefore be mixed in existing infrastructure,” Michel said in the e-NG’s benefits in a news release. “Second, our customers will not have to change their current industrial processes.”
The France-based energy company and its partner intend to pursue tax credits made available in the Inflation Reduction Act as the company works to add the renewable energy resource to the extensive natural gas pipeline network in the U.S.
TotalEnergies, which is targeting 100 GW of gross installed renewable power generation capacity by 2030, said it will supply the wind and solar electricity needed for the project.
TES, focused on countries where renewable power is abundant, has set out to accelerate the transition to clean energy by using existing infrastructure to increase use of hydrogen, the company said on its website. Capturing and using CO2 as part of the process, TES converts green hydrogen to e-NG to transport via existing pipelines for industry use or reconversion to green hydrogen.
“The innovative business model developed by TES will help to diversify the European and Asian energy mix, making affordable renewable energy available,” TES CEO Marco Alverà said in the release. “This groundbreaking project testifies to the effectiveness of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the United States. Today’s announcement confirms that cooperation among all players is what will make the energy transition possible.”
TES is currently building the European Green Energy Hub in Germany, where it hopes to supply 250 terawatt-hours of green gas annually.
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