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Global hydrogen company makes U.S. entrance through Houston-area facility acquisition

A Belgian hydrogen company has expanded to the United States by way of the Houston area. Photo via johncockerill.com

A Belgian electrolyzer manufacturer has acquired a facility in Baytown, expanding to North America for the first time.

John Cockerill Hydrogen announced today that its acquired a manufacturing space south of Houston that will be retrofitted to become one of the largest alkaline manufacturing facilities in the country. It's slated to deliver as early as the third quarter of next year.

“We are excited for the US launch, the first step in our partnership journey with North American businesses and stakeholders who seek to decarbonize and advance the energy transition,” François Michel, CEO of John Cockerill Group, says in a news release.

Expected to create 200 new jobs and produce one gigawatt of electrolyzers a year, the project is slated to deliver as early as the third quarter of next year.

According to the release, Chambers County's highway and barge access, storage and pipeline proximity, and other existing infrastructure were key factors for the company's decision. John Cockerill Hydrogen, which has an office in Houston already, reports that Houston's recent selection by the Department of Energy to be one of seven hubs to receive funding for hydrogen development was another part of the city's appeal.

“With an existing energy ecosystem comprised of competitive natural resources, a highly skilled talent base, and existing infrastructure, Houston was the natural choice for our entry to North America,” Nicolas de Coignac, president of the Americas for John Cockerill, says in the release. “We look forward to partnering with local and state officials, business organizations, academic institutions and other Houston-area stakeholders playing a part in meeting the ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and ensuring energy security and resilience.”

The company has a relationship supporting the Greater Houston Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative, per the news release, and plans to host a groundbreaking event sometime this year with local business, industrial, and community leaders.

“We are pleased to welcome John Cockerill Hydrogen’s highly anticipated U.S. launch to Houston,” Bob Harvey, president and CEO of GP, says in the release. “This momentous announcement — closely following the U.S. Energy Department’s selection of HyVelocity to develop a Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub – serves as a resounding testament to our city’s unrivaled status as the energy — and energy transition — capital of the world. With our exceptional infrastructure and top-tier talent, Houston is primed for exponential growth. John Cockerill Hydrogen’s partnership within our hydrogen ecosystem will be nothing short of transformative. Together, we will shape the future of energy and solidify Houston’s position in theclean hydrogen space.”

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A View From HETI

The combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology. Photo via Getty Images

SLB announced its plans to combine its carbon capture business with Norway company, Aker Carbon Capture.

Upon completion of the transaction, which is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year, SLB will own 80 percent of the combined business and ACC will own 20 percent.

According to a SLB news release, the combined technology portfolios will accelerate the introduction of promising early-stage decarbonization technology.

“For CCUS to have the expected impact on supporting global net-zero ambitions, it will need to scale up 100-200 times in less than three decades,” Olivier Le Peuch, CEO of SLB, says in the release. “Crucial to this scale-up is the ability to lower capture costs, which often represent as much as 50-70% of the total spend of a CCUS project.

The International Energy Agency estimates that over one gigaton of CO2 every year year will need to be captured by 2030 — a figure that scales up to over six gigatons by 2050.

"We are excited to create this business with ACC to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture technologies that will shift the economics of carbon capture across high-emitting industrial sectors,” Le Peuch continues.

SLB is slated to pay NOK 4.12 billion — around $379.4 million — to own 80 percent of Aker Carbon Capture Holding AS, which owns ACC, per the news release, and SLB may also pay up to NOK 1.36 billion over the next three years, depending on business performance.

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