US companies move forward with green hydrogen projects

13 April 2023

A coalition of companies including major utilities has applied for federal funding to build a green hydrogen network spanning six south-eastern states in the USA. Meanwhile, in Virginia, a property and project development company has secured a site where it plans to create a green energy centre with a green hydrogen hub and data centres powered by small modular reactors.

Green Energy Partners' concept for a green energy centre in Virginia (Image: Green Energy Partners)

The Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition announced it has completed the submission of its full application to the US Department of Energy (DOE) for funding to build a green hydrogen network. The coalition's utility members include several that feature nuclear in their generation portfolio - Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - led by Battelle.
The DOE's USD8 billion programme to develop regional clean hydrogen hubs - also known as H2Hubs - was launched last year and is an initiative under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It aims to support the development by 2026 of at least four H2Hubs that can be developed into a national clean hydrogen network to facilitate a clean hydrogen economy.

The Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition was one of 79 potential hubs to submit initial concept papers to the DOE in 2022 and was one of 33 applicants encouraged by the department to proceed with submitting full applications. The deadline for full applications was 7 April, and final funding decisions are expected later this year.

A hydrogen hub in the Southeastern USA could assist in decarbonisation efforts and help bring robust economic development benefits and jobs to the region, the coalition says, and the initiative has gained support from bipartisan lawmakers across the region. A group of senators from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee led by Senators Jon Ossoff and Lindsey Graham have written to US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm expressing their support for the project.

Green energy vision for Virginia

In a separate announcement, Virginia-based property and project development company Green Energy Partners LLC said it plans to create the USA's first fully integrated green energy centre at the 641-acre site it has secured in Surry County, Virginia. The Surry Green Energy Center (SGEC) will include the building of 1-gigawatt of data centres and a Green Hydrogen Hub, with the eventual deployment of four to six 250 MWe small modular reactors (SMRs), the company said. The SGEC may also incorporate energy storage capabilities to balance supply and demand.

The "SGEC vision" is to begin constructing the data centres now, with electricity provided by the grid, the company said. In the future, the data centres would interconnect to carbon-free sustainable power from the co-located on-site SMRs.

"The SGEC exhibits the ideal combination of clean hydrogen production, hydrogen consumers and energy-intensive customers (the data centres) all in proximity with a connective infrastructure," the company said. "These green data centres can ultimately benefit not only from on-site SMR electricity production, but also hydrogen-fuelled generator backup power."

With data centres in Loudoun County, Virginia, currently using about 20% of Virginia's power capacity while handling upwards of 70% of the world's data traffic, the SGEC "will provide much-needed support to America and the world's internet traffic with positive national security implications - at a site that is highly suited for new nuclear today", it added.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News