Natural gas liquefaction technology made by Chart Industries Inc. can be modified relatively easily to also liquefy hydrogen for export, the CEO said Thursday.


Ball Ground, GA-based Chart provides liquid gas technologies and equipment for the energy, water and space industries, among others. It has in the last few years become more focused on the core cryogenic and alternative energy businesses, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen.

With increased global momentum to use hydrogen for power generation and other applications, U.S. LNG exporters Cheniere Energy Inc. and Sempra Energy are among several operators eyeing hydrogen opportunities. Existing LNG export and import infrastructure could be used for waterborne liquid hydrogen shipment.

Chart CEO Jillian Evanko said the company’s Integrated Pre-cooled Single Mixed Refrigerant mid-scale modular liquefaction technology “with some tweaks” has been used to liquefy hydrogen. The thornier issue would be the ability of pipelines and other potentially brittle equipment to handle different pressures and temperatures, she said.

Modifying existing LNG infrastructure to liquefy hydrogen would be 50-60% cheaper than building infrastructure for hydrogen, Evanko said.

Chart is providing technology to Venture Global’s 10 million metric ton/year (mmty) Calcasieu Pass LNG project underway in Louisiana. It also would provide technology to Cheniere’s proposed 10 mmty stage three expansion of its Corpus Christi LNG facility in Texas and Tellurian Inc.’s planned 27.6 mmty Driftwood LNG terminal in Louisiana.

Evanko said she expects positive investment decisions on Corpus Christi and Driftwood next year with rising LNG prices as the world recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As we have said on numerous occasions, we consider ourselves the provider of cryogenic equipment regardless of molecule and we believe that there will be a hybrid of renewable energy sources as the clean energy transition continues,” management said. “Hydrogen will be significant in this transition, and with our 50 plus years of hydrogen equipment experience, we will play a key part in the full hydrogen value chain, enhanced by our recent inorganic investments.”

Chart earlier this month completed its takeover of Worthington Industries Inc. for $10 million, including a site in Theodore, AL, that manufactures trailers to transport hydrogen. The company also plans to participate in a U.S. Department of Energy study to test the feasibility of using renewable hydrogen fuel for multiple end-use applications, including fuel cell electric vehicles. Chart would partner with Air Liquide Group, Frontier Energy, the Gas Technology Institute, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, OneH2, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Southern California Gas Co., Texas Gas Service, Toyota Motor North America and the University of Texas at Austin (UT) on two related projects.

The UT project would generate zero-carbon hydrogen on site via electrolysis with solar and wind power and reformation of renewable natural gas from a Texas landfill. In the second project at the Port of Houston, the participants plan a feasibility study to scale up hydrogen production and use. 

Chart reported net income of $21.7 million (43 cents/share) in the third quarter, compared with $18.8 million (38 cents)  in the year-ago period and $20.2 million (39 cents) in the second quarter.

Full year revenue guidance for 2020 is set at $1.18 billion, with a forecast of $1.25 billion-1.35 billion for 2021. The company has a backlog of orders totaling $684.9 million, and it booked orders in the third quarter with 147 customers.