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Washington state: green hydrogen competitive with SMR by 2025

In a report, the Washington State Department of Commerce finds that displacing hydrogen produced via steam methane reforming with electrolysis will be cost-effective by next year in the state.

The Washington State Department of Commerce claims that green hydrogen produced via electrolysis will be cost-competitive with SMR hydrogen as soon as next year.

In a report published last week, the agency assesses opportunities and challenges to advancing green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels in Washington, and provides detailed modeling of anticipated demand for green hydrogen as part of the state’s path to a net-zero economy.

The report emphasizes the near-term need to replace fossil-derived hydrogen at the state’s five refineries and other chemical production facilities, representing .024 EJ of demand by 2027, with use in petroleum refining tapering off in the 2030s.

The agency adds that electrolytic hydrogen can be competitive with SMR hydrogen by next year, but only if the full $3/kg federal IRA hydrogen incentive is received.

Overall, demand for green hydrogen and renewable fuels in Washington is projected to reach 0.224 exajoules (EJ) by 2030 and 0.27 EJ by 2050, indicating a strong market for these resources. This demand includes not only hydrogen gas but also renewable fuels like Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels and ammonia​​.

As it stands, the PNWH2 hub, one of seven selected to receive federal grant funding, is negotiating with DOE and final details of any final award and production levels are still being determined, the report says.

In addition to displacing gray hydrogen production, the agency anticipates demand from the following end markets:

  • Production of renewable liquid fuels for use in on-road, maritime, and aviation transportation (0.211 EJ by 2030 and 0.174 EJ by 2050);  
  • Production of ammonia, predominantly for use as a maritime fuel (0.057 EJ by 2050);
  • Direct use of hydrogen in fuel cell electric vehicles, specifically heavy-duty vehicles, freight rail, and marine fuel cells (0.021 EJ by 2050);  
  • Other direct uses of hydrogen gas in electricity production, industrial heat, and pipeline gas blends (These uses combined reach 0.013 EJ by 2050). 

According to the report, Washington will establish 800 MW of electrolysis capacity, producing 200,000 metric tons of hydrogen by 2030. In addition, significant electricity capacity will be needed for the production of renewable Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels, with projections of 500 MW by 2030 and 2.5 GW by 2035. To support this expansion, an increase in in-state renewable electricity capacity is expected, estimated at 3.4 GW by 2030 and 36.8 GW by 2050​​.

Siting and permitting processes pose significant challenges for green hydrogen production and the supporting renewable energy infrastructure. The 2021 State Energy Strategy initially envisioned using excess renewable generation for hydrogen production, but the current level of production requires new transmission and generation capacity​​.

Washington may import approximately 70% of its green hydrogen and renewable fuels by 2050, leveraging the abundance of renewable resources in neighboring states. While this approach minimizes demands on electric power transmission capacity, it also presents risks similar to those associated with imported fossil fuels​​. To mitigate these risks and meet emission targets, the report suggests focusing on in-state hydrogen production, supplemented by clean energy generation and transmission capacity​​.

The specific recommended actions outlined in the 2023 Green Electrolytic Hydrogen Report for advancing green hydrogen and renewable fuels deployment in Washington State are as follows:

  • Accelerate In-State Green Electrolytic Hydrogen Production:
    • Set a state target for in-state green electrolytic hydrogen production of 4.5 GW by 2035, with an ambitious goal of reaching this target by 2030.
    • Facilitate access for green hydrogen producers to the 45V Production Tax Credit.
    • Utilize existing incentives and consider new ones to support electrolyzer production and usage in Washington​​.
  • Targeted State Support for Strategic End Uses:
    • Clearly identify and direct state and federal investments and incentives to strategic end-use sectors.
    • Fund pilot and demonstration projects in these sectors.
    • Provide technical assistance to support market development in strategic sectors.
    • Support access to the DOE H2Hubs Demand-side Initiative as part of H2Hubs implementation.
    • Collaborate with refineries to replace fossil-derived hydrogen with green electrolytic hydrogen.
    • Evaluate policy options to accelerate production and use of renewable Fischer-Tropsch liquid fuels and reduce statewide transportation emissions.
    • Focus hydrogen initiatives and investments for on-road hydrogen use on the most strategic vehicle types and corridors​​.
  • Consistency with GHG Reduction and Net-Zero Economy:
    • Support increased renewable electricity capacity and transmission infrastructure to supply hydrogen and other economy-wide loads.
    • Address and control greenhouse gases (GHGs) from imported hydrogen within the context of the state carbon cap.
    • Monitor and reduce hydrogen leakage to minimize indirect greenhouse gas impacts​​.
  • Expedited and Equitable Siting and Permitting Practices:
    • Collaborate with the Washington State Department of Ecology to develop an effective and equitable Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for green hydrogen.
    • Develop a process to evaluate preferred geographic locations for hydrogen infrastructure.
    • Promote local or on-site hydrogen and renewable fuel production where appropriate.
    • Conduct additional activities to support efficient and effective siting and permitting for green hydrogen production and use.
    • Support efforts to site and permit renewable electricity and transmission infrastructure​​.
  • Promote Equity and Environmental Justice:
    • Develop an environmental justice tool for hydrogen projects.
    • Support the implementation and oversight of the PNWH2 Community Benefits Plan.
    • Support analysis and recommendations regarding hydrogen combustion and nitrogen oxides (NOx) generation to avoid air quality and health burdens​​.
  • Support Positive and Equitable Economic Impacts:
    • Evaluate workforce impacts and opportunities related to hydrogen and renewable fuels.
    • Increase resources for workforce development opportunities with equitable benefits.
    • Evaluate the tax and fiscal impacts of hydrogen deployment​​.

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Spain’s ACCIONA planning large-scale green hydrogen projects in the US

A JV between Spain’s ACCIONA and Germany’s Nordex has big plans for the US.

ACCIONA & Nordex Green Hydrogen (ANGH) is developing gigawatt-scale green hydrogen projects in the United States.

The firm, a JV between Spanish renewables and infrastructure firm ACCIONA and German wind turbine maker Nordex, has several projects in development in rural America as part of a global portfolio of green hydrogen projects with targeted installed wind and solar capacity of 50 GW.

In comments to the IRS regarding 45V tax credits, the firm’s Vice President of Development Scott Baron wrote that the firm was seeking to reach FID by 2027 and complete construction by 2030 on at least one of the projects.

“Each project represents multiple billions of capital investment and gigawatts of incremental renewable energy capacity. Developing projects of this scale takes time and considerable investment, which we have committed,” Baron wrote.

In making the case for maintaining strict standards for green hydrogen production under 45V, Baron noted that Nordex has a separate business unit, Nordex Electrolyzers, that is developing an alkaline electrolyzer designed to operate under variable electricity output from renewable sources.

“Prototyping will be complete in 2025 with commercial scale-up to follow,” he said. “This experience has given us confidence that the technology (in general) will be ready and scalable in time to support the projects we and others intend to build within this decade.”

Baron declined to comment further on the projects.

Business model

Further making the argument for strict green hydrogen rules, Baron writes that there are zero emissions impacts to the grid under the business model that ANGH is pursuing, whereby renewable energy resources are directly connected to the electrolyzers.

“Our support [of strict rules] is predicated on a business model that ANGH and others are pursuing globally, which focuses on building very large-scale projects (typical projects are 1,000- 3,000 MW electrolyzer capacity, with capital cost expectations of $3-10 billion) in the best renewable energy resource areas of the world but are remote and currently lack transmission infrastructure,” the letter reads. “These projects are exclusively or primarily ‘behind-the-meter’ or ‘off-grid’ and rely on system designs that optimize sizing of the various key pieces of equipment given the wind and/or solar profile of the site. “

Baron goes on to write that the challenge of remotely sited projects is transporting the final end-product to its end user. “Within the United States, there is tremendous potential to utilize and/or develop low-cost pipelines, which is a proven successful and low-cost method of transporting molecules,” he said. “The scale of the projects ANGH is developing can support the capital costs associated with new longer distance pipelines.”

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Amazon invests in green hydrogen companies

Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund is accelerating efforts to decarbonize global operations through green hydrogen.

Amazon’s USD 2bn Climate Pledge Fund is accelerating efforts to decarbonize global operations through green hydrogen.

The Climate Pledge Fund announced new investments in Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire, two U.S. and European-based developers of electrolyzers, a key technology that makes emissions-free green hydrogen using water and renewable electricity, according to a 13 July press release.

“To curb the climate crisis, we need to continually develop innovative solutions that can scale, whether it’s through the electrification of electric vehicles, investments in nature-based solutions, a decarbonized electric grid, or increased production of green hydrogen,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon. “We are proud to be investing in visionary companies like Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire that are developing vital technology for the deployment of green hydrogen to help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors.”

“Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund is a model for corporate investment in pragmatic climate solutions. We are thrilled to have Amazon as a partner in decarbonizing industries like long-haul freight transport and aviation,” said Raffi Garabedian, CEO of Electric Hydrogen. “Amazon and The Climate Pledge Fund have a clear and expansive vision of the role that green hydrogen will play in decarbonizing their operations. We look forward to collaborating on fossil-free hydrogen projects as we advance toward commercialization.”

“We are proud to welcome Amazon as our investor and look forward to working with a company that has such ambitious climate targets”, said Nils Aldag, CEO of Sunfire. “Green hydrogen is urgently needed to decarbonize and to secure energy supply without fossil fuels. Since 2010, Sunfire has been leading the way in this field. With a unique electrolyzer portfolio and a team of 400 specialists, Sunfire today is one of the few companies capable of providing hydrogen-producing systems on an industrial scale. With Amazon’s help, we want to further scale up our production capacity.”

The Climate Pledge Fund is investing in visionary companies across industries, including transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization, manufacturing and materials, circular economy, and food and agriculture.

Amazon has now invested in 18 companies, including Rivian, Redwood Materials, Turntide, CarbonCure, Pachama, Infinium, ZeroAvia, BETA Technologies, ION Energy, CMC, Resilient Power, Hippo Harvest, Amogy, Ambient Photonics, Brimstone, Verne, and now Electric Hydrogen and Sunfire. These companies are advancing technologies and business solutions that can help Amazon and others reach net-zero carbon by 2040.

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Waste-to-methanol developer adds global projects director

Los Angeles-based WasteFuel has hired a former engineering and project director from Johnson Matthey.

WasteFuel, a next-generation waste-to-fuels company, announced today that Johan Fritz, former Johnson Matthey Project and Engineering Director, will serve as the company’s Global Projects Director, effective May 1, 2024, according to a news release.

Fritz will oversee WasteFuel’s project development team and work alongside key partners to advance the company’s projects and accelerate WasteFuel’s efforts to produce green methanol at scale.

He brings over 25 years of experience leading multi-disciplinary teams across all project stages including concept design, FEED, detail design and execution in many places around the world including in the US, UK, China, India, EU, Africa and South America.

As the Project and Engineering Director at global chemical and sustainable technology company, Johnson Matthey, Johan was responsible for projects enabling net zero targets, managed the capex delivery of global projects, played a hands-on role in execution, and built and oversaw cross-stakeholder teams. His previous roles include Project Management Lead at leading oilfield services provider SLB Asset Consulting Services, where he provided Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) support for global clients; and Senior Manager at international integrated energy and chemicals company, Sasol E&P.

Johan holds a postgraduate degree from the University of Pretoria and studied chemical engineering at the Vaal University of Technology. He is a Member of the Association of Project Managers (MAPM), and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMI).

“I am looking forward to working alongside the WasteFuel team to build projects that will decarbonize shipping and reduce waste at this significant time for the company and the environment,” said Johan Fritz, Global Projects Director of WasteFuel. “The opportunity to be a part of the company’s growth and to bring their green methanol production to scale is extremely exciting.”

“Johan’s experience executing global energy projects adds critical expertise to WasteFuel’s existing project management and leadership teams as we work to accelerate the development of our projects around the world,” said Trevor Neilson, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of WasteFuel.

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Exclusive: CO2-to-SAF tech firm in new capital raise

A technology company with a novel process to convert CO2 into fuels and chemicals is extending a capital raise that previously closed with inputs from several oil and airline majors.

OXCCU, the UK-based clean fuels production company, is extending a Series A raise it closed last year with an eye on growth in the US, CEO Andrew Symes told ReSource. 

The raise, characterized as a Series A2 by Symes, is being conducted in-house, he said. It builds on the GBP 18m (USD 22.7m) Series A it finished last year, led by Clean Energy Ventures.

Aramco, ENI and United Airlines are also among the company’s backers.

OXCCU, a spin out of Oxford University, plans to raise additional money to scale its catalytic process converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide into sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and other products. A patent grant, filed in 2020, is anticipated this year.

“We don’t want to be the project developer, we want to license to the project developer,” Symes said of the company’s business model.

Fuel made combining carbon dioxide (captured from industry or power plants) with green or clean hydrogen will be cheaper based on OXCCU’s iron-catalyst process, Symes said, which requires one step instead of the traditional two-step process.

OXCCU is looking for partners to engage with on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects in the US, Symes said. This year the company will deliver a pilot plant in the US and plans to complete a 160 kilogram-per-day plant in Sheffield, UK in 2026.

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Solar-powered hydrogen producer raising capital for EU and US growth

A European JV developing off-grid hydrogen production units using concentrated solar power – “white hydrogen” – plans to raise capital for growth in Europe and the US.

hysun, a Spanish JV between European firms Nanogap and Tewer Engineering, will raise $15m over three years for its first industrial plant and commercialization by 2026, CEO and Co-founder Tatiana Lopez said in an interview.

hysun has not engaged a financial advisor to date, but is open to meetings, Lopez said.

The new venture, formed in November, has raised $2m and is actively seeking another $3m (pre-money valuation of $10m) equity for a100 g H2/h prototype to close by the end of the year.

The company will then need $4m for an industrial plant, locations for which are being scouted now in the US and Europe. After that, the founders intend to enter a commercialization phase.

hysun’s intellectual property allows it to produce off-grid “white hydrogen” via steam generated with concentrated solar technology, Lopez said. The lack of electrolyzers means about eight times less land is needed to generate projects as large as 200 MW assuming 2,500 hours of sunlight per year.

“You don’t need to be next to a wind farm or solar plant,” Lopez said, adding that the hydrogen is produced at $1 per kilo.

Average project sizes range between 50 and 100 tonnes per year, assuming the same amount of sunlight, though the technology is applicable on a micro scale. The company sees the end uses being for ammonia production, replacement of grey hydrogen in industry and remote location deployment.

Lopez said the company is interested in growing in the US and Europe but believes the US will develop its industry faster.

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Waste-to-energy specialist executes MoU with Nikola

The partnership will encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean Industries’ partners and feedstock suppliers. Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from the company’s green hydrogen projects.

Klean Industries, a Vancouver-based waste-to-value technology provider, has executed an MOU with Nikola Corporation to encourage the adoption of Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles with Klean’s partners and feedstock suppliers.

The two companies will also work on developing green hydrogen supply and dispensing infrastructure in the US and Canada, according to a statement seen by ReSource.

Nikola will evaluate offtake opportunities from green hydrogen projects being developed by Klean and its partners involving hydroelectric, wind and solar power in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Using Klean’s green hydrogen, the companies will convert Klean’s logistics partners’ truck fleet to Nikola Class 8 zero-emission vehicles.

Both Klean and Nikola see a significant opportunity to collaborate on projects where Klean and its partners operate recycling, resource recovery, and waste-to-energy plants, the statement reads.

“We believe Nikola’s hydrogen-electric trucks are going to fundamentally change the ground transportation and logistics landscape. This exciting collaboration will create opportunities that will reinforce the importance of working together as we look to both deploy and develop a renewable hydrogen value chain,” said Jesse Klinkhamer, CEO of Klean Industries Inc., in a statement. “Developing clean energy projects with leading technology companies such as Nikola supports Klean’s strategic focus and enables our respective companies to create a symbiosis between waste, resources, and energy, while simultaneously helping in the creation of a circular low carbon economy. Green hydrogen has the potential to completely transform the energy landscape and drive a cleaner, more sustainable future.”

Klinkhamer said in an interview last year that Klean was in the process of hiring an advisor to raise between $250m – $500m in a strategic capital raise.

Carey Mendes, president, energy at Nikola said, “Klean’s vision of utilizing a green hydrogen fleet of trucks in their tire recycling ecosystem is a clear indication of the company’s commitment to creating a better, more sustainable future. Klean has already brought together like-minded partners to decarbonize their truck fleets which is a testament to their far-reaching commitment and deep knowledge of this sustainability space.”

Klean recently partnered with City Circle Group to build a fully integrated, continuous tire pyrolysis plant to recover carbon black and biofuel in Melbourne Australia. The company also signed a partnership agreement with H2 Core Systems to distribute and build green hydrogen projects around the globe.

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