Hydrogen Plant to Serve Californian Market
French industrial gases giant, Air Liquide, said November 26 that it will invest over $150mn to build a "world-scale" liquid hydrogen plant able to produce almost 30 metric tons/day for the automotive sector.
The plant, to be built "in the western US", will provide a reliable supply source to fuel the 40,000 fuel-cell electric vehicles that are expected to be deployed in the state of California by 2022. Air Liquide has signed a long-term agreement to supply Californian hydrogen retailer FirstElement Fuel.
An Air Liquide spokesperson told NGW that the plant will be a steam methane reformer, so converting gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, rather than an electrolysis unit. Construction would begin in early 2019. But the hydrogen would be clean, she added, as the feedstock used would be bio-gas that is either directly sourced, or purchased with certification to prove it is biogas. There was no plan at this stage to add any carbon capture and storage at the project, she added.
Carmakers Toyota and Honda welcomed the announcement. Air Liquide also said that buses and trucks would also be supplied by its plant, while FirstElement Fuel's CEO Joel Ewanick said: "It's yet another indication of the momentum for hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline."