Liquid natural gas company New Fortress Energy (NFE) has selected New York-based electrolyser maker Plug Power to supply a turnkey 120MW green hydrogen project near Beaumont, Texas, that will be among the largest in the US and scaleable to almost 500MW.
The agreement, whose financial details were not made public, is the latest evidence of growing interest in the oil refining and petrochemical sectors to utilise green hydrogen for desulfurisation and feedstock processing.
New Fortress expects the more than 50 tons per day output from the facility will supply both industries and others located in the Port of Beaumont and broader Sabine-Neches Navigation District on the Gulf of Mexico coast in east Texas.
“The green hydrogen project site is strategically located on the banks of the Neches River in Jefferson County, Texas, affording proximity to industrial end-users as well as access to reliable power and superior logistics including rail, marine and existing pipelines that span the US Gulf Coast region,” NFE said in a statement. “The Port of Beaumont and broader Sabine-Neches Navigation District are home to an array of large-scale industrial facilities in the refining, petrochemical and other sectors that utilize hydrogen for desulfurization and feedstock processing.”
The companies did not say what clean technology source the facility will utilise for power or its electricity requirements. Texas is the leading state electricity market for wind and number two for utility solar, but the great majority of that available resource is located within territories of grids that don’t serve the Beaumont area.
Entergy, the utility that does, is based in New Orleans and is a minor player in renewables, although it has announced plans to develop or procure about 4.6GW of solar and wind resources from 2024 and 2026.
NFE CEO Wes Edens said his company is focused on scalable solutions that have a “real impact” on decarbonisation, noting the US policy environment for hydrogen is “increasingly favourable.”
Last year’s bipartisan $1trn infrastructure law provided $9.5bn in federal funding for clean hydrogen, including $8bn for development of four regional hydrogen hubs.
The US Department of Energy also has $1bn available to support project and technologies that reduce green hydrogen costs and $500m more to advance manufacturing and recycling of clean hydrogen.
Democrats’ $443bn climate and tax bill that will likely clear Congress by the weekend for President Joe Biden’s signature into law contains generous tax credits that could make US renewable H2 the cheapest form of hydrogen in the world.