DOE announces $ 1 billion loan for hydrogen plant But is it ‘pure’?

In the days leading up to 2021, the Department of Energy’s credit bureau has unveiled its first new award to President Biden, a program that is seen as important in Congress.

On December 23, the office announced a $ 1.04 billion loan to Monolith Nebraska LLC to boost its “pure” hydrogen production, if the company met certain conditions.

The company uses an unusual method to produce hydrogen from natural gas, known as methane pyrolysis.

Pyrolysis has been seen by some federal researchers as a promising way to produce low-carbon hydrogen, which could one day be sold at a price comparable to traditional and emissions. Low carbon hydrogen can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels in transportation and manufacturing and other sectors.

When pyrolysis is applied to natural gas, it produces a second product called hydrogen and carbon black – a type of resin that is widely used on tires and other commercial products.

Monolith said it could significantly reduce CO2 emissions and still generate profits for both products.

The company plans to use DOE support to significantly expand the Halla Neb Factory, which produces hydrogen and carbon black.

Hydrogen produced there has been converted into ammonia and is being sold to popular buyers in the corn belt, the company said. Major tire manufacturers, such as Michelle and Good Air, are promising to cut their own emissions by purchasing carbon black from monoliths.

Rob Hansen, founder and CEO of Monolith, said the loan guarantee came after “several years of hard work” and “a big milestone” for the company.

“Advanced, clean production technologies such as monolithic are influential projects that support not only sustainability but also economic growth and clean energy for the American people,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

‘Pure’ testimonies?

The award is the first of a series of $ 40 billion loans from Trump’s administration, which has been inactive during the Trump administration. The final of the LPO Awards for Vogt Nuclear Station in Georgia ended in 2016.

The guarantee for the monolith is from the Bureau XVII program, which supports “innovative” energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the DOE announcement, it will be the first of many awards in 2022, which means the office is ready for “additional investments” this year. Elpio Director Jigar Shah recently said the office has received 66 completed applications representing energy companies, representing $ 53.6 billion in loans and loan guarantees.Energy wire(December 8, 2021)

DOE’s choice of a monolithic project raises the question of whether hydrogen produced by natural gas can be completely “pure” – a concept previously challenged by many environmentalists.

Pyrolysis is similar to the widely used vapor methane reform (SMR) process, in which both processes involve natural gas.

Unlike SMR, pyrolysis does not naturally produce large amounts of carbon to produce hydrogen because It uses high temperatures to detect carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which means that natural gas is not burning.

A spokesman for Monolith told E and E News that the pyrolysis process could reduce carbon emissions to 0.45 kilograms, which is 100 percent renewable electricity for every 1 kilogram of hydrogen.

That is in the definition of “pure” hydrogen, which was established by the Bilateral Infrastructure Act, which limits the two-kilometer CO2 limit.

Monolith did not estimate the amount of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants emitted by its hydrogen and carbon black products. Carbon black companies have been producing knuckles, sulfur oxides, and dust particles.

DOE told E and E News that emissions from NOx and other monolithic facilities in Nebraska will be controlled by the government and the county because the plant is not considered a major source of hazardous waste under clean air law.

Although Olive Creek is producing hydrogen and carbon black, Monolith said it plans to increase its production from 14,000 metric tons of carbon black to 194,000 metric tons using the DOE loan. Hydrogen production – currently 5,500 metric tons – is growing to produce 275,000 metric tons of ammonia.

According to the company, the process of converting hydrogen to ammonia does not emit CO2 emissions.

Monolith NextEra Energy Inc., first established in 2012 in California. And is supported by other energy companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America Inc.

He had previously tried to market hydrogen from a Nebraska factory, but failed. Last year, it abandoned its plan to supply hydrogen for domestic use instead of coal, saying it could not afford it.

According to Dan Levy, Director of Monolith Communications, the company and its consortium have supported those plans, “after many years and millions of dollars invested in engineering studies,” and convinced them that there is a better and more significant benefit for us. Pure hydrogen. ”

“Instead, we use the hydrogen from our expansion plant to produce pure ammonia,” he added.

Return of the LPO

The use of methane pyrolysis to produce hydrogen, sometimes called turquoise, has received support from other DOE branches and major investors.

California-based company C-Zero Inc. With the help of DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E), it developed its own pyrolysis system. Last year, Bill Gates raised $ 11.5 million in donations from donors, including Breakthrough Energy Ventures.Energy wire, February 10, 2021).

The Bureau of Excellence is also intended to encourage private investors to excel. With the Democrats’ reconciliation process facing an unforeseen fate in Congress, the office’s work is an integral part of climate control.

Innovation advocates and international organizations such as the International Energy Agency say more unsustainable types of clean energy must emerge to effectively combat climate change.

David Hart, a senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, exemplifies new technologies such as low-cost clean energy sources or low-carbon fuels in the afternoon.

He said those technologies could be used to meet Biden’s climate goals, including a carbon-free grid by 2035 and a clean zero emission by 2050.

Under the Obama administration, the DOE loan office provided funding for the first-ever solar energy projects in the US, boosting the industry’s popularity.

He wrote in an email: “An active LPO is essential for the administration to be fully effective in its clean energy creation policy.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been criticized by many conservatives for the inaction of former President Trump, following the massive loss of half a billion dollar loan guarantee by Solindra, a solar producer, during the Obama administration.

Office lawyers defended the record, saying the portfolio was operating in the dark, despite incidents such as Solindra. DOE’s guarantee for Monolith includes indirect protection of the company’s operations, with only 3.3 percent of the investment going bankrupt.

Shah has previously suggested that hydrogen projects could be the focus of his office’s finances.

But long-term policy supports, such as tax credits, such as wind and sun, may be necessary if a new pure hydrogen industry emerges, researchers say.Energy wire(December 20, 2021)

That applies to Congress. Reconciliation package for both existing Senate and House versions creates product tax credit for hydrogen, which is similar to renewable growth. However, Senator Joe Manchin (DW.Va.), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and key Democratic swing vote, is now opposed to the measure.

Barbara de Marini, an energy tax expert at Baker Bots LLP, said at a forum hosted by the United States Energy Association on December 22 that the settlement “would indeed make a difference to the hydrogen tax landscape.”

“There is nothing like hydrogen at the moment,” she said.

Leave a Comment