US-based firm Green Hydrogen International (GHI) announced on March 3 that it is proposing to build the world’s largest green hydrogen production and storage base in southern Texas. The power supply of the base will comprise 60GW of wind and PV generation units as well as renewable electricity from the ERCOT grid. Once in operation, the base is expected to output as much as 2.5 billion kg of hydrogen gas per year.
GHI said that the construction of the base will be carried out in multiple phases. The first phase, which consists of 2GW of production and two storage caverns, could be completed as early as 2026. Ultimately, the base will have more than 50 storage caverns with an energy storage capacity of 6TWh.
Founded in 2019 by geologist Brian Maxwell, GHI focuses on leveraging natural salt domes as cost-efficient hydrogen reservoirs. Besides salt domes, depleted oil wells and other kinds of underground geological formations can also serve the same function.
GHI wants to create a “Hydrogen City” in Texas’s Duval County. The nearby Piedras Pintas Salt Dome will be the site for the hydrogen storage reservoir, and from there the hydrogen gas can travel via pipelines to either Corpus Christi or Brownsville. The hydrogen gas can then be turned into ammonia at the facilities near Corpus Christi and exported to other countries from the Port of Corpus Christi. As for Brownsville, this city hosts SpaceX’s South Texas Launch Site. Hence, the hydrogen gas can be turned into rocket fuel that powers the launch vehicles. Besides these two destinations, the hydrogen gas from the base in Duval County can also be delivered via pipelines to power plants and other users in the region.
GHI in its press release pointed out that transportation and distribution have been significant challenges in the development of hydrogen economy. Therefore, the storage and transportation solutions that it offers are a major attraction for prospective investors.
GHI’s founder and CEO Brian Maxwell said that Hydrogen City will be a “massive, world-class undertaking” that will turn Texas into the global leader in green hydrogen production.
The company’s press release also stated that discussions have already begun for the end-use options of the hydrogen gas from the proposed base. These options include green ammonia that will be exported to East Asian countries; green ammonia that will be used in the production of low-cost fertilizers; hydrogen feedstock that will be used in the production of sustainable aviation and rocket fuels; and hydrogen fuel for power plants, fuel cells, etc.
An Australian renewable energy developer Energy Estate will be assisting GHI in building Hydrogen City.
Andy Steinhubl, a member of GHI’s board, said that the site of Hydrogen City provides many advantages such as the natural salt dome, abundant land, and the Port of Corpus Christi that is about 145km west.
Activities are taking place in Texas to establish a green hydrogen industry in the southern coast of the state. Earlier in February, Apex Clean Energy announced that it has signed a MoU with the Port of Corpus Christi to build a hub that produces and distributes green hydrogen and its derivatives. Similar projects are also taking place in other parts of the US. For example, Mitsubishi Power and Magnum Development are jointly developing the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in Utah. Like GIH’s Hydrogen City, ACES involves the creation of a hydrogen reservoir using underground salt caverns. This project is scheduled for completion in 2025.