With the current push toward clean energy, hydrogen has prevailed as a viable energy option. With its green capability, hydrogen is gaining great popularity, with a comparison being made between blue and green designations. Serving the public, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, an international law firm, has devised a global map of hydrogen projects. In addition to listing locations of current projects, the firm’s hydrogen map communicates much more to the public, including trends and support.
Concentrating on green and blue projects, the Pillsbury map targets production facilities that comply or meet low carbon standards. This feat is accomplished by using carbon-free methods or sources like renewables, nuclear power utilization, or through carbon capture and storage processes. As hydrogen projects grow in number, the data portrayed in the map is expected to expand as time and projects progress. Additionally, the map is capable of adding additional information.
Having begun her career as an engineer with the former Enron Corporation, Mona Dajani heads the legal firm’s Energy and Infrastructure Projects Renewable and Energy Team. Outfitted with the goal of bringing awareness and information directly to the public so it can formulate a true opinion on hydrogen energy, Dajani indicated that green hydrogen is the path of the future and is driven to make its capability known to all.
“Demand for energy is driving significant innovation in the hydrogen space,” said Dajani. “Green hydrogen projects, which combine renewable power sources with hydrogen production, are unlocking new possibilities for regions previously constrained by weak grid connections and transmission bottlenecks, and marking a crucial step in the development of the green hydrogen business case.”
Green and Blue Designation
Green hydrogen is a gas produced through renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy. This is the only type of hydrogen gas that meets the low carbon threshold, which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint.
While blue hydrogen is derived from non-renewable energy sources, it is widely considered to be “fairly clean.” It, too, meets the reduced carbon threshold. When blue hydrogen is generated, the carbon is captured and stored, which prevents carbon emission. Because the process captures approximately 90% of the carbon, zero-emission standards are not fully met. Instead, the process is considered to possess a moderate carbon intensity.
Currently, there are 57 operational hydrogen projects. According to Dajani, an additional 58 will be in development by the end of the current year. Additionally, construction of another 92 is expected to begin in the next decade.
According to Dajani, green hydrogen projects are more prominent overseas and not in the United States. In fact, over 83% of the green hydrogen projects represented in the Pillsbury hydrogen map are being driven by markets in Western Europe and Asia Pacific.
“The United States is finally starting to see an increase in green hydrogen production projects,” said Dajani.
While green hydrogen projects dominate, with 52 projects being operational, Pillsbury data reveals the development of one blue hydrogen project. This particular project that will result in carbon emissions being captured, stored, or reused will take place at the Tabangao Refinery in Batangas, Philippines.
While blue oil hydrogen production serves as a more viable or simpler method for oil and gas companies to transition to clean energy without having to abandon fossil fuels, the Pillsbury Hydrogen Map indicates that in addition to the Tabangao Refinery, ten additional projects are slated to begin, but overseas, not in the United States.
“The large global oil and gas companies are accepting the push to renewable energy and understand the need to transition,” said Dajani.
Drawing similarities, green hydrogen data presented on the map supports the notion that the majority of those projects find roots outside the United States. Those numbers, while low compared to the total number of projects found overseas, are still higher than blue hydrogen projects.
This data representation indicates certain trends that can be inferred. Green hydrogen projects show substantial growth and acceptance, especially outside of the United States. Blue hydrogen projects are much smaller in overall quantity and reflect a slow movement towards clean energy by oil and gas companies. Still, the numbers show an increase which indicates growth.
With a growing global focus on clean energy, the oil and gas industry finds itself on the cusp of diversification. Drawing upon industry experience and data collected, Dajani predicts that oil and gas companies within the United States will have to succumb to the same fate as those across the globe.
No matter the size, the same strategy will need to be followed. Renewable energy will need to find its way into business portfolios.
“Small companies will still be held to the same standard as larger companies,” said Dajani. “The commitment to clean energy is not based on size. These companies will need to comply. Further diversification could also lead to an increase in mergers and acquisitions.”
Nick Vaccaro is a freelance writer and photographer. Besides providing technical writing services, he is an HSE consultant in the oil and gas industry with eight years of experience. He also contributes to Louisiana Sportsman Magazine and follows and photographs American Kennel Club field and herding trials. Nick has a BA in Photojournalism from Loyola University and resides in the New Orleans area. 210-240-7188 [email protected]