Mitsubishi Power Americas Inc. is on a mission to build out a “hub-and-spoke” network of infrastructure to produce, transport and store low-carbon hydrogen in North America, CEO Paul Browning said recently.
The company’s large-scale hydrogen partnerships include what it touted as the largest green energy storage project and the largest blue hydrogen project in North America in announcing a partnership with Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
Mitsubishi Power has retained Citi “to explore growth financing options” for the massive buildout.
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Hydrogen is seen as a key element of the energy transition because of its versatility as an emissions-free fuel at the point of combustion, and as a vessel of energy that may be converted to electricity when fed through a fuel cell.
The challenge lies in scaling up production of low-carbon “green” and “blue” hydrogen. Green hydrogen is produced by splitting hydrogen molecules from water via electrolysis powered by renewable or nuclear energy. Blue hydrogen production entails splitting hydrogen from natural gas and then capturing and storing the carbon dioxide emissions.
Mitsubishi Power’s flagship green energy storage project, Advanced Clean Energy Storage, is a partnership with Magnum Development LLC in Delta, UT. The companies plan “to create a green hydrogen hub that will eventually provide pipeline connectivity throughout the Western Interconnect of North America,” Mitsubishi Power said. “The project will produce renewable hydrogen, store it in vast underground salt dome caverns, and dispatch it as a clean fuel for power generation, transportation and industrial applications.”
The blue hydrogen project, meanwhile, is a joint venture with Bakken Energy in North Dakota. It comprises facilities that will produce, store, transport and consume blue hydrogen.
A partnership with Texas Brine Co. LLC, meanwhile, “provides salt dome rights that position Mitsubishi Power to develop green or blue hydrogen hubs in New York, Virginia, Louisiana and Texas,” Mitsubishi Power said. Mitsubishi Power “also will use Citi for guidance as it extends its web of joint development projects and partnerships with hydrogen offtakers.”
“Mitsubishi Power has already secured several joint development agreements (JDA), gas turbine orders for power projects with hydrogen capabilities, and offtaker agreements.” Partnerships include JDAs to help utilities Gulf Coast utility Entergy Corp. and the Pacific Northwest’s Puget Sound Energy decarbonize their operations
Mitsubishi Power also is manufacturing hydrogen gas turbines for Intermountain Power Agency in Utah and for Capital Power in Alberta.
Citi Vice Chairman Stephen Trauber said, “Mitsubishi Power has…a clear vision to connect the continent to decarbonize the power generation, transportation and industrial sectors…We will leverage our expertise in assisting clients in traditionally carbon-intensive industries to help Mitsubishi Power explore their options to attract and deploy capital from investment partners.”
Browning added, “For several years, we’ve been working with early adopters of green and blue hydrogen that have advantaged access to existing hydrogen infrastructure, such as the Intermountain Power Agency, Magnum Development, Bakken Energy, and Entergy’s Orange County Advanced Clean Power Station. Now we plan to build off of these early adopter projects to build a hydrogen hub-and-spoke infrastructure that spans North America and Makes clean, affordable hydrogen widely available.”
A recent study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative found that a hydrogen-fired gas turbines (HGFT) can compete in terms of levelized cost of electricity with lithium-ion batteries in offsetting the seasonal variability of wind and solar plants.
“However, we find the power prices required to justify investment in an HFGT to replace a natural gas-fired turbine are considerably higher than those seen in the market today,” researchers said.
On Tuesday, meanwhile, researchers at Pusan National University in South Korea said they developed a method for producing green hydrogen in a more efficient, less energy-intensive manner that could allow production to scale up more rapidly.
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