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Energy Companies Plan Blue Hydrogen Hub

By NAM News Room

A group of major energy companies will develop a hydrogen and carbon-capture hub in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to POLITICO Pro (subscription).

A new alliance: Marathon Petroleum Corp., Mitsubishi Power Ltd., Shell Polymers (a division of Royal Dutch Shell PLC), U.S. Steel Corp., GE Gas Power, Equinor ASA group and others plan “to build out infrastructure for ‘blue’ hydrogen production, where hydrogen is isolated from natural gas, and leftover carbon dioxide from the process is stored underground.”

Existing Appalachian interests: Equinor, which already has a natural gas operation in Pennsylvania, is looking into “several potential value chains in both blue hydrogen and CCUS in the Appalachian Basin,” spokesperson Ola Morten Aanestad told the news outlet last week.

  • Marathon Power operates an oil refinery in Ohio.
  • Shell is building its first U.S. polyethylene facility in Monaca, Pennsylvania, and has plans to extract ethane from the Utica and Marcellus natural gas fields for use in plastics production. 

Why hydrogen? “Producers will need to adopt hydrogen-based manufacturing to help reduce coal’s share of energy consumption and meet a goal of global net-zero emissions by 2050, according to IEA.”

Room to improve: Blue hydrogen is promising but still faces challenges, as “researchers at Cornell and Stanford universities found that the carbon footprint of blue hydrogen production could be more than 20 percent greater than the footprint of burning natural gas or coal for heat. The large footprint was largely due to methane emissions that occurred during the process of converting natural gas into hydrogen and CO2.”

Other future hubs: A plan to develop carbon capture and storage infrastructure in Texas has drawn interest from 14 companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.

  • Louisiana’s recently released first statewide climate plan recommends developing “major industrial clusters” into hydrogen and carbon dioxide capture hubs. 

The NAM’s view: “The development and deployment of new and advanced technologies, requiring significant public and private investment, is essential to addressing climate change and meeting current and future domestic and global energy challenges,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones.

  • “Manufacturers are committed to developing technology solutions to achieve further emissions reductions from our own operations, as well as enabling reductions in our customer industries and consumer end users. Energy innovations like blue hydrogen hubs should be supported by an appropriate policy framework that drives innovation and technology deployment toward cost-effective emissions reductions.”
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