Companies write Biden on PTC; JERA, PIF sign hydrogen MoU

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Air Liquide's North Las Vegas Hydrogen Production facility (Source: Reuters/Bridget Bennet)

Plug Power, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and 31 other organizations have jointly penned a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration calling for the efficient implementation of the government’s Section 45 Clean Hydrogen Production Tax Credit (PTC).

The PTC was created as part of the U.S. government’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and provides credits to hydrogen producers based on the processes’ life cycle emissions.

Poorly devised PTC rules may hamper the industry’s growth and broader U.S. policy goals, the letter said, while underscoring the act’s importance in driving energy security, job creation, and decarbonization of the most difficult-to-abate sectors.

The letter also called on the administration to avoid unworkable and inequitable PTC requirements that could shift clean hydrogen investments overseas and allow other countries to undercut U.S. clean hydrogen manufacturing.

Overly strict restrictions on the tax credit could lead to domestic investment reductions of 65% by 2032, the loss of over 500,000 jobs over the next seven years, and present energy security risks from the failure to develop hydrogen manufacturing and infrastructure.

“If PTC rules are too restrictive, we risk forgoing hundreds of thousands of jobs, conceding hydrogen leadership overseas, compromising our energy security, and failing to achieve decarbonization goals – especially in hard-to-abate sectors like steel and chemical production,” Plug CEO Andy Marsh said.

“The section 45V hydrogen PTC holds enormous potential to help the administration meet its ambitious climate targets, but we must get the details right.”

JERA, PIF sign hydrogen MoU

Japanese energy company JERA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to jointly explore the development of projects involving clean hydrogen and its derivatives, the company said in a statement.

The MoU paves the way for the two parties to commence the necessary studies and feasibilities for clean hydrogen and derivative projects that will support domestic and international markets, it said.

JERA has established presence in the Middle East after opening the JERA Middle East & Africa Management Company in Dubai in October 2021 and has stakes in existing gas-fired power plants and desalination projects in the Gulf Cooperation States (GCC) region.

The MoU will unlock valuable synergies between PIF and JERA by leveraging the resources and capabilities of each party in the joint development of projects for clean hydrogen derivatives including ammonia, mainly for exports from Saudi Arabia, the statement said.

JERA sees the Middle East and Africa regions as rich in renewable resources and a promising base for the production of low-emission hydrogen and ammonia and will continue to work with leading companies in Japan and overseas to establish and expand supply chains, it said.

Quebec tests hydrogen train

The Canadian province of Quebec will run North America’s first hydrogen passenger train in the summer of 2023, in partnership with French manufacturer Alstom and using the company’s Coradia iLint trains, Alstom said in a statement.

The train will carry passengers on the Réseau Charlevoix rail network, along the St. Lawrence River, between Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and Baie-St-Paul and will be powered by hydrogen produced by Harnois Énergies at its Quebec City site.

The operation of the train will allow Alstom and its partners to better assess the subsequent steps for the development of hydrogen propulsion technology and its penetration into the North American market, it said.

Alstom presented the Coradia iLint for the first time at InnoTrans 2016 in Berlin before the trains entered into commercial service in Germany in 2018.

“With only 1% of the networks electrified in our region, this technology will provide an alternative to diesel. This project will demonstrate our capabilities to provide more sustainable mobility solutions to customers, agencies and operators, as well as to passengers. It will also provide an extraordinary showcase for Quebec's developing green hydrogen ecosystem,” said President Alstom Americas Michael Keroullé.

Vortex completes salt cavern study

The East and West Salt Structures in eastern Canada have a conservatively-estimated potential to store up to 800,000 tons of hydrogen within more than 60 caverns, Vortex Energy Corp says after completing a hydrogen storage capacity assessment.

The work was completed by Votex’s contracted consultancy partner RESPEC Consulting, a geology, geophysical, and engineering company with direct experience of underground hydrogen storage caverns, it said.

Vortex is currently advancing its Robinson River Salt Project located approximately 35 km south of the town of Stephenville in the Canadian province of Newfoundland & Labrador.

The East Salt Structure can potentially hold an estimated 550,000 tons of hydrogen in more than 35 caverns based on conservative estimates, while more optimistic predictions see as many as 53 caverns holding 900,000 tons.

The West Salt Structure will potentially hold 250,000 tons in more than 25 caverns, according to conservative estimates. More optimistic estimates place that at 350,000 tons in more than 43 caverns, the company said.

“These preliminary results from RESPEC are very promising. If the results of the assessment are accurate, the Project has the potential to store significant amounts of hydrogen and could end up being one of the largest salt cavern discoveries on the east coast of Canada,” Paul Sparkes, CEO of Vortex, said.

By Reuters Events Hydrogen