Energy and investment firms to explore gigawatt-scale green hydrogen hub on Gulf Coast

Strong points

Potential hub to be located in Corpus Christi

The project would include a new pipeline and storage

A group of energy and investment companies signed an agreement with the Corpus Christi Port Authority on February 22 to explore opportunities for the development of a gigawatt-scale green hydrogen hub that would produce green fuels “in volumes never before seen in the United States”.

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The Corpus Christi Port Authority has signed a memorandum of understanding with Apex Clean Energy, Ares Management Corporation and EPIC Midstream Holdings to “explore the development of a hydrogen production, storage, transport and export operation leading green,” the group said in a statement.

The project would also include a new dedicated hydrogen pipeline and a green fuels hub.

The Port of Corpus Christi along the Texas Gulf Coast is the country’s main hub for crude oil exports, accounting for about 60% of the market share with more export capacity still available.

Apex Clean Energy said it would power green hydrogen production facilities using its portfolio of wind and solar projects in Texas currently under development. Last year, Apex announced that it was purchasing 345MW of wind power to power a green hydrogen production facility being developed in partnership with Plug Power. The facility is expected to produce 30 mt/day of clean liquid hydrogen.

EPIC Midstream said it would leverage its expertise in building and operating pipelines to accelerate the development of a new pipeline dedicated to green fuels, and that the port authority would provide infrastructure for storage, processing and new and existing export companies located on its property.

“This project aims to generate and deliver green hydrogen and other clean fuels precisely where they are needed most – to the industrial backbone of our country,” said the President and CEO of ‘Apex Clean Energy, Mark Goodwin, in the release. The partnership “would harness the highest quality wind and solar resources in Texas to help decarbonize hard-to-reduce industries – including transportation, shipping, fertilizer, chemical and refining sectors – and would include an option for global export”.

In addition to hydrogen, the project would produce derived green fuels such as green ammonia, green methanol and sustainable aviation fuels. Although the companies say the project would produce green fuels at the gigawatt scale, Apex declined to provide details on the expected volume.

Other large-scale green hydrogen projects in the United States are still in the development phase. Plug Power’s $290 million hydrogen production facility in New York, for example, aims to have 120 MW of electrolyser capacity that will deliver 500 mt/day of hydrogen by 2025. And DG Fuels’ $2.5 billion sustainable aviation fuel production facility in Louisiana, which will provide 839 MW of electrolyser capacity, is expected to be completed by mid-2022.

It’s hard to say how this potential Corpus Christi project might impact clean hydrogen prices going forward, said hydrogen analyst Brian Murphy of S&P Global Platts Analytics. According to price estimates from S&P Global Platts, the price of hydrogen produced by electrolysis on the Gulf Coast was $3.17/kg (including investment) as of February 21.

“It’s hard to speculate how the low-carbon H2 market might evolve – it doesn’t specifically exist right now,” Murphy said. “Also, the mix of derived fuels could complicate the picture.”


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