American start-up Hy Stor Energy is planning a $3bn green hydrogen production and storage hub in Mississippi up to ten times larger than any other project under consideration in the US.

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During its first phase, the multi-site Mississippi Clean Hydrogen Hub (MCHH) is expected to produce an estimated 110,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually through solar-powered electrolysis “with potential for other renewable energy to include wind and hydro”, the company told Recharge.

Hy Stor has not revealed the scale of the project in terms of the renewables or electrolyser capacity required, but Recharge estimatse that it would require close to 1.5GW of electrolysers and something in the region of 2GW of solar power, as wind speeds are generally weak in the US South.

Underground salt caverns at the MCHH will have the capacity to store more than 70,000 tonnes of green hydrogen that can be dispatched on demand using existing distribution infrastructure including highways, pipelines, ports along the Gulf of Mexico, and railroads.

Hy Stor opted to locate its first green hydrogen hub in Mississippi because of the state’s “distinct geology, strategic geographic location, abundance of available water and renewable energy from the sun and wind, and collaborative business environment”.

The naturally occurring salt formations can support development of large caverns that will be able to allow for the “safe and effective storage of several years’ worth of green hydrogen.”

The recent bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the US Senate sets aside $8bn of government funding for four regional clean hydrogen hubs, as part of a push to reduce the cost of green hydrogen to less than $2/kg by 2026. But Democrats in the House of Representatives are stalling over its passage there as they argue internally about the wider Senate budget reconcilliation bill.

Hy Stor said the H2 would be used in commercial, industrial, and utility consumption, in fuel-cell vehicles and potentially jets, and for energy storage.

“The biggest challenge the energy transition faces today is how to bridge the gap to allow renewables to replace fossil-fuel electric power generation safely and reliably,” said Hy Stor CEO Laura Luce. “In an era of increasingly frequent extreme weather, it’s imperative to have the ability to store large quantities of renewable energy capable of providing multiple days of power over long periods of high demand.

“We believe the approach we’re taking in Mississippi will become the blueprint for future green hydrogen projects that not only address the energy transition challenges we face but also bring new jobs, economic revitalisation, and low-cost energy to communities in the region. We see this as an important way of advancing U.S. climate leadership.”

Pending regulatory approvals and equipment availability, the hub’s first phase is planned to enter commercial service by 2025. Project cost was not publicly disclosed.

The Mississippi venture is the flagship venture for Hy Stor and “strategic partner” Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure, a Canadian fund manager based in Toronto with a portfolio that includes more than 60 hydro, solar and wind projects totaling 1.4GW of nameplate generating capacity globally.

“We expect that the capital requirements for this project will be funded through a combination of debt and equity but are not prepared to comment further on the details at this time,” a Hy Stor spokesman said in an email to Recharge.

The partners envision a system of large-scale, long-duration green hydrogen hubs in Canada and US that will be on the cutting edge of efforts by both nations to develop and commercialise cost-competitive carbon-free fuels.

“Hy Stor Energy is solving the unique challenges of a world transitioning to renewable energy, and we're developing a model for producing, storing, and delivering 100% carbon-free green hydrogen reliably, consistently — and at scale,” said Luce.

“Our partnership with CC&L Infrastructure will enable us to advance the large-scale development and commercialisation of green hydrogen and long-duration storage,” she added.

President Joe Biden is promoting large-scale development of green hydrogen to help reach his goals of a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 and net-zero emissiosn in the US by 2050.