An Arkansas city known for its use of renewable energy announced plans to break ground this year on a power plant that would be part of the state’s first so-called “hydrogen hub.”
Officials in Clarksville on May 12 signed an agreement with Syntex Industries, part of SyntexNRG, to design and build the Syntex Hydrogen Power Plant. The current timeline for the project calls for at least limited power generation to begin in 2025, with the plant completed in 2026.
Plans call an initial investment of more than $250 million in the first 50-MW phase of the project, with the facility expected to have more than 500 MW of generation capacity when complete, according to officials.
Support for Renewable Energy
“Syntex has been working with Clarksville to develop methods to store excess renewable energy and regenerate it on demand. Recent technical developments and federal tax incentives have opened the door at last,” said Clarksville Mayor David Rieder in announcing the plant. “This project offers the infrastructure to support our growing economy and bring new high-paying ‘ecodustrial’ jobs to the area.”
Rieder said Syntex wants to develop a “Hydrogen Power Grid” to pursue “the promise of renewable hydrogen for clean energy and fuels of transportation.” Syntax has said it also has plans for a solar power facility at the Clarksville site.
Tom Waggoner, managing director and CEO of Arkansas-based SyntexNRG, in a news release said hydrogen “offers a practical pathway to reduce greenhouse gases from power generation by storing energy from solar and wind when it would otherwise be unused.” Waggoner said, “Syntex is committed to facilitating the decarbonization of the economy with major investments in renewable energy, sustainable fuels, and energy-efficient housing in modern sustainable communities.”
A Grid of Hydrogen Plants
Syntex officials have said they think the “most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver hydrogen across the globe” is through a grid of hydrogen power plants that could produce what they call pure “fresh” hydrogen within a radius of about 200 miles. Their plan also includes ammonia- or methanol-based hydrogen carriers “for long-term storage and cost-practical transportation.” The company has said it is committed to developing projects to provide “decarbonization at scale.”
Several companies are working on blending hydrogen with natural gas at existing power plants, including major turbine makers General Electric, Siemens, and Mitsubishi, along with engine manufacturers Wärtsilä and others. Energy analysts have said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new standards on power plant emissions also could spur development of more hydrogen-fueled facilities.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).