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Texas jumps on the wagon of making clean energy from water

  • Texas jumps on the wagon of making clean energy from water

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Texas will host the first large-scale green hydrogen production facility in the U.S., informs Inside Climate News. Developed by Air Products and AES, it will include 1.4 gigawatts of wind and solar power generation, and will have a production capacity of over 200 tonnes per day of green hydrogen, starting operations in 2027.

The state of Texas is widely known for the oil business, with 43% of the crude oil production of the U.S. in 2021. It also accounted for 25% of the country’s marketed natural gas production. In terms of renewables, in the last decade, the state has led the U.S. in wind-powered electricity generation, with 26%, and is also a leader in solar-generation potential.

The fact that energy production powerhouse like Texas is diversifying into green hydrogen production is good news for the world. Texas is also the U.S. state that most energy consumes, with a booming population and industrial sector that accounts for more than half of that consumption.

Green hydrogen made from water through electrolysis using renewable electricity has the potential to decarbonise transportation as well as industry. The downside is the huge energy costs. Until recently it was too costly to compete with other fuels like gasoline or diesel, but the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed last summer changed that with clean energy tax incentives. The IRA has been called “the largest single step that Congress has ever taken to address climate change”. The planned facility will be eligible for tax credits of up to $3 per kilogram of hydrogen produced.

Much larger green hydrogen projects are planned in Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Hugh Daigle, an associate professor of petroleum and geosystems engineering at the University of Texas Energy Institute, commented: “they’ve been working on hydrogen in Europe for a long time and I think we’ve got to play catch up here”. The European Union launched in 2022 the REPowerEU plan, which aims to produce 10 million tonnes and import 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030, scaling up hydrogen infrastructure and supporting hydrogen investments to accelerate hydrogen uptake.

The hydrogen economy will also need pipeline and storage infrastructure, and customers with fuel cell engines, but the market is expected to develop substantially in the coming decade.

Hydrogen production has enormous implications for the water sector: aside from the obvious role of the sector as a consumer of energy, others are related to the impact on water resources, and emerging technologies to support hydrogen production from water of different qualities. 

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