major move

Houston company selects site for net-zero hydrogen production facility, low-carbon microgrid

This major project will include net-zero hydrogen production to be used onsite to fuel a microgrid, greenhouses, and more. Image courtesy of Fidelis New Energy

A Houston-based energy transition infrastructure firm has announced where it's planning to build a multiple-phase project that will produce carbon-neutral hydrogen and run a low-carbon microgrid.

Fidelis New Energy selected Mason County, West Virginia, as the site for its carbon neutral hydrogen production facility and low carbon microgrid —The Mountaineer GigaSystem and the Monarch Cloud Campus for data centers powered by net-zero hydrogen.

The facility will be using the company's the proprietary tech, called the FidelisH2, that produces hydrogen using "a combination of natural gas, renewable energy, and carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration," according to a news release.

The four-phase project is estimated to cost $2 billion per phase and will produce over 500 metric tons per day of net-zero carbon hydrogen. The first phase is expected to be completed in 2028.

"I am beyond excited that West Virginia will be the home of the Mountaineer GigaSystem and Monarch Cloud Campus," West Virginia Governor Jim Justice says in a news release. "West Virginia has a long history as an energy powerhouse for our nation, thanks to our hardworking people who know how to get the job done. And now, we're in a great position to make the most of a new fuel – hydrogen – through this incredible project in Mason County.

"There's simply no doubt that Fidelis is going to help shape the future of West Virginia in a major, major way by assisting in the commercial lift-off of some truly exciting new industries," he continues.

The project includes an incentive package from the West Virginia Department of Economic Development.

"The project's four-phase construction plan will not only provide substantial employment opportunities for the local workforce, with 800 full-time jobs and 4,200 construction workers, but it will also have a major positive impact on the region's economy," John Musgrave, the executive director of the Mason County Development Authority, says in the release. "The influx of workers and the establishment of the facility will bring additional business, industry, and new technology to Mason County, the state, and the surrounding region."

In addition to the hydrogen-producing FidelisH2 tool, Fidelis's suite of technologies includes H2PowerCool, which powers and cools data centers, and CO2PowerGrow, which is used for greenhouses to decarbonize and lower the cost of food production.

The new collaborative project is a rising amid the region's bid in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations for the regional clean hydrogen hub Funding Opportunity Announcement. The bid, called the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub, or ARCH2, was submitted earlier this year by a multi-state effort.

"Our proprietary net-zero solutions using only proven technologies are attracting significant commercial interest from hydrogen users, data center operators, and greenhouse owners," Bengt Jarlsjo, co-founder, president, and COO at Fidelis, says in the release. "This helps the ARCH2 hub to achieve scale across the hydrogen lifecycle from production through consumption."

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A View From HETI

After recently divesting from wind and solar energy initiatives, Shell has plans to quadruple EV charging stations in the next several years. Photo via shell.com

As it downshifts sales of fuel for traditional vehicles, energy giant Shell is stepping up its commitment to public charging stations for electric vehicles.

In a new report on energy transition, Shells lays out an aggressive plan for growing its public network of charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). The company plans to boost the global number of public EV charging stations from about 54,000 today to around 70,000 by 2025 and about 200,000 by 2030.

The projected growth from today to 2030 would represent a 270 percent increase in the number of Shell-operated EV charging stations.

“We have a major competitive advantage in terms of locations, as our global network of service stations is one of the largest in the world,” Shell says in the report.

Shell’s global network of service stations is shrinking, though. In the report, the company reveals plans to close a total of 1,000 gas stations in 2024 and 2025. Today, more than 45,000 Shell-branded gas stations are located in over 90 countries.

Aside from Shell gas stations, the company’s Shell Recharge business unit operates public EV charging stations along streets, at grocery stores, and at other locations in 33 countries.

Shell, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, is ramping up its EV charging network amid forecasts of slowing demand for oil and rising demand for EVs. Other than EV charging, Shell is focusing on biofuels and integrated power as components of its revamped product mix.

“Shell is well positioned to become a profitable leader in public charging for electric vehicles, meeting the growing demand from drivers who need to charge on the go,” the report says.

To accelerate its EV charging presence in the U.S., Shell in 2023 purchased Volta, a San Francisco-based operator of EV charging stations. Shell says it now operates one of the largest public EV charging networks in the U.S., with more than 3,000 charging points in 31 states and another 3,400 under development.

“The availability of charging points will be critical for the growth in electric vehicles,” the report says.

Last month, Shell divested from a solar energy subsidiary, before later announcing an exit from a wind energy joint venture.

"In-line with our Powering Progress strategy, Shell continues to hone our portfolio of renewable generation projects in key markets where we have an advantaged position," Glenn Wright, senior vice president at Shell Energy Americas, said in a news release at the time.

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