Linde Plans $1.8B 'Blue' Hydrogen Plant in Texas

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Industrial gas giant Linde said Monday it plans to invest around $1.8 billion to build a clean hydrogen plant in Texas after reaching a supply agreement with ammonia producer OCI.

Linde will build, own and operate an onsite complex that produces hydrogen through autothermal reforming and carbon capture and will also include a large air-separation plant.

The complex, which will be integrated into Linde’s existing gas infrastructure on the US Gulf Coast, will supply hydrogen and nitrogen to OCI’s planned 1.1 million ton per year “blue” ammonia plant in Beaumont, Texas, due for start-up in 2025.

The companies said it will be “the first greenfield blue ammonia facility of this scale to come on stream in the [US].”

Ammonia has emerged as an early-stage market for clean hydrogen since the product can serve as a “carrier” for easier transport of hydrogen and has significant downstream applications for high-emitting industries such as fertilizer production.

Linde Lean

Linde, one of the world’s largest producers and handlers of industrial gases, has been positioning itself as a key player in the emerging clean hydrogen sector in the US and has announced a number of agreements to bolster its carbon capture and storage (CCS) capabilities.

It is a member of the Houston CCS Alliance, a group of major energy and petrochemical companies advocating for CCS developments in and around the global energy hub.

Last year Linde announced a tie-up with oil major BP to develop a large CCS project that would enable clean hydrogen production. The project with OCI is not related to the BP project, however, a Linde spokesperson confirmed.

The OCI project is also separate from another CCS collaboration agreement Linde signed last year with services giant SLB, the spokesperson said.

Plant Planning

The plant in Beaumont broke ground last December; OCI says it has the infrastructure to double its capacity in the future and will be able to access both domestic and export markets.

The hydrogen plant will utilize autothermal reforming technology, a “pre-combustion” approach that can produce purer streams of CO2 that are easier to inject for permanent sequestration.

Linde says the project will sequester more than 1.7 million tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Linde will presumably deploy proprietary technology to capture and compress CO2 from the hydrogen production. The spokesperson did not answer that question directly, but did confirm that Linde has "not yet announced the sequestration arrangements for this new project, but will likely do so at a later time.”

Linde said it “will also use its extensive pipeline network to provide clean hydrogen to existing and new customers in the US Gulf Coast.”

“Our strategy is to support decarbonization by working with offtakers, like OCI, to safely and reliably supply low-carbon industrial gases at scale,” Linde CEO Sanjiv Lamba said in a statement.

For its part, OCI expects its total investment cost to be “below $1 billion,” including spending on “upsized utilities” and available land that would allow for it to potentially double the ammonia plant’s capacity.

Hydrogen, Emerging Technologies, Carbon Capture (CCS), Corporate Strategy
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