The Hydrogen Stream: US port wants to produce 9,000 MT with 260 MW/840 MWh of solar-plus-storage


The Port of Corpus Christi, the third-largest port in the United States, entered into a nonbinding memorandum of understanding with Los Angeles-based alternative investment manager Ares Management Corporation (ARES) to produce green hydrogen and optionally provide renewable power directly to the port. “The first set of facilities will be made up of an up to ~210 MW solar project and an up to 840 MWh battery storage facility, which will be capable of powering an electrolyzer facility to produce ~9,000 MT of green hydrogen per year, with the possibility of expanding the facilities over time, including for the optionality of providing renewable power directly to the port’s operations,” reads the note released on Tuesday, explaining that the infrastructure will be developed on port-owned property.

The size of individual electrolyzer projects is growing rapidly. “Today, most electrolyzers have capacities of less than 10 megawatts (MW). As early as 2025, a typical plant will be 100 to 500 MW, producing hydrogen for direct-connected consumers. By 2030, plant sizes will increase to 1 GW and more, coupled with large-scale projects producing hydrogen for export in countries with cheap electricity, said Aurora Energy Research, referring to its recent hydrogen market report. The Oxford-headquartered research institute suggests that electrolyzer capacity should grow from 0.2 GW to 13.5 GW by 2040, “a one-thousand-fold increase”. The majority of the electrolyzer projects are in Europe (85%), with Germany planning 23% of global electrolyzer capacity. In terms of electrolyzer capacity in 2030, the Netherlands should follow Germany (9 GW) with 6 GW. In Europe, Aurora also singles out Italy, Poland and the UK for their low-carbon hydrogen plans.

The Multistack platform built to enable the testing of increasingly powerful modules from the reversible solid oxide fuel cell/electrolyser (rSOC) technology is now operational, French research institute CEA-Liten announced. Powered by a 450 kVA electrical input, this new tool of the Innovation Laboratory for New Energy Technologies and Nanomaterials (CEA-Liten) allows, in its current configuration, to test modules operating in fuel cell and/or electrolysis mode with a power of up to 120 kWDC.

Chile's Minister of Energy and Mining, Juan Carlos Jobet, approved the first green hydrogen project in Chile. The Highly Innovative Fuels' (HIF) Haru Oni project is a partnership between Enel Green Power Chile (EGP Chile), a subsidiary of Enel Chile, Chilean electricity company AME and state-owned ENAP, together with Germany’s Siemens Energy and Porsche. The project will use Siemens Energy's Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzer to produce hydrogen from wind, using a 3.4 MW wind turbine. The project will use green hydrogen, combined with CO2 captured from the air, to produce synthetic methanol. Lastly, 40% of the methanol should be converted into synthetic gasoline.

The Norwegian government proposed to double to €20 million its allocations for hydrogen as part of the revision of the 2021 national budget. “This year's state budget already includes NOK 100 million, and now another NOK 100 million is proposed,” reads a note released on Tuesday. The new funds will target infrastructure and market development (NOK 85 million), as well as a new research center focused on hydrogen and ammonia (NOK 15 million). The research center will receive NOK 30 million a year (€3 million) for the eight years to 2030. According to the government, infrastructure development involves “establishing hubs and supply chains that facilitate the commercial use of hydrogen.” Enova, an enterprise owned by the Ministry of Climate and Environment, will manage and operate pilot and demonstration projects. In 2020, Norway’s private consumption registered a -7.6%, but public consumption increased by 1.7%.

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German car manufacturer BMW said it would unveil a hydrogen fuel cell SUV in 2022. “We are conducting research into e-fuels and hydrogen. Next year we will unveil a BMW X5 with a fuel cell drive. A small series of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT will show how we envision the hydrogen drive train,” Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said on Wednesday. The plans are in line with a declaration made in 2019, when BMW said it “would start offering fuel cell vehicles for customers in 2025 at the earliest, but the timing very much depends on market requirements and overall conditions.”

Spain’s state-owned railway operator Renfe announced that would prioritize low-carbon technologies in its pending contracts for new trains. The board of directors agreed to re-tender the purchase of 72 medium-distance and commuter trains. The company explains that “the decision of the board of directors responds to Renfe's commitment to environmental responsibility […] and means adhering to the clear commitment of European and Spanish institutions to clean energies and, in particular, to renewable hydrogen.”



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