The global search for sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil fuels and energy production methods increasingly leads to hydrogen. The gas can be a viable pathway to a reduced carbon footprint.
As more businesses focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, capital expenditures in the hydrogen market will require a range of evaluations and studies to smartly launch hydrogen initiatives. Your hydrogen production and distribution solutions must be uniquely suited to your asset base.
Our team is focused on helping you develop a decarbonization strategy, which can include renewables in general and hydrogen in particular. We have diverse technical capabilities — in both the oil and gas market and power generation markets — and a technology-neutral approach that will help determine a tailored hydrogen production solution. We help you analyze your project development options and transition to a proven project execution model — leading to a predictable project conclusion.
Technical Strength in Evolving Market: The Hydrogen Rainbow
Our leadership in the oil, gas and chemicals and power generation markets gives us insight into the opportunities and limitations of the hydrogen market. Traditional hydrogen production methods can be carbon-intensive, driving heightened focus on decarbonization throughout the hydrogen production process. Our familiarity with existing hydrogen production and distribution positions us as an ideal partner.
With growing hydrogen demand, decarbonization of the hydrogen production industry presents unique opportunities and challenges. To classify potential reduction pathways, the “hydrogen rainbow” was conceptualized. Traditional gasification methods are the most carbon intensive with decreasing carbon emissions progressing up the rainbow to green hydrogen, which is generated from electrolysis of water using renewable power.
Each level of the rainbow presents specific technical challenges and advantages depending on your asset base and capital investment availability.
We have extensive experience with refining initiatives that require high-purity hydrogen at elevated process conditions to remove contaminants such as sulfur from refinery products. The treated gasoline and diesel produce less sulfur dioxide emissions. Other uses of hydrogen in the oil and gas industry include cracking heavy oils into more usable products, improving diesel cetane, saturating benzene rings and increasing the volume of products. We are also familiar with the use of hydrogen in chemicals production, including via the Haber-Bosch process in which nitrogen and hydrogen are reacted to produce ammonia. Through our work on these and other applications of hydrogen systems in refining and chemicals, we are familiar with the design considerations required for safe and consistent hydrogen purification, compression and distribution.
Renewably sourced hydrogen is not limited to new facilities and does not necessarily require the use of renewable power for production. Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels via steam methane reforming (SMR), coupled with carbon capture — called blue hydrogen — is an alternative form of renewable hydrogen. With the current IRS 45Q tax credit structure, and potential for additional future incentives, blue hydrogen can result in an alternative and economically viable renewable hydrogen production process. Integration of blue hydrogen production can capitalize on existing infrastructure with limited upstream modifications and — when pairing conventional hydrogen production with these carbon capture facilities — can reduce the hurdle to entry and open the door to a reduced carbon footprint.
Transitioning Ammonia Industry to a Sustainable Future
Ammonia accounts for approximately 45% to 55% of hydrogen consumption in today’s market. Transitioning the ammonia industry to a sustainable future is a significant opportunity for reduction in carbon intensity. Green ammonia is produced using green hydrogen from electrolyzers and nitrogen from air separation units. The power for a green ammonia facility must be from a renewable source to maximize decarbonization. We also have experience with blue ammonia solutions, which use traditional technologies for hydrogen production to feed the ammonia process combined with carbon capture. Blue ammonia will likely be a bridge to decarbonization of ammonia production, and our team has the technical capabilities in ammonia production — combined with experience integrating air separation units, carbon capture and renewable power into projects — to deliver green or blue ammonia projects.
Transport & Distribution of Hydrogen
Using the nearly 2.5 million miles of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines to transport blended hydrogen fuels is the focus of extensive research and pilot programming. Our experienced pipeline and distribution teams can analyze pipeline metallurgy, gas composition and additional factors to evaluate the reuse of existing infrastructure for the growing hydrogen market. Potential for conversion of hydrogen into a carrier fuel such as ammonia for stable, safe transport is in development. The carrier fuel can then be used as an alternative to fossil fuel or can be reconverted to hydrogen at the user.
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Meaghan McCaffrey Managing Director 314-682-1624