Element Resources’ new green hydrogen production facility will play an important role in the switch to renewable energy.
The State of California is effectively mandating the conversion of its entire vehicle fleet, personal and commercial, to Zero Emission Status (ZEV) over the next few years. In response, Element Resources, a California-focused green hydrogen development company, is advancing hydrogen production facilities located in major prospective demand centres such as ports, warehouse districts, and major road and rail hubs.
The importance of green hydrogen in the energy transition
Decarbonising major industries by 2050 is a goal that many countries around the world have set. To achieve this, giving rise to an element such as green hydrogen is critical, which is currently responsible for more than 2% of total global CO2 emissions.
As hydrogen is one of the most readily available natural chemical elements, the global demand to use it as a renewable fuel has skyrocketed. Moreover, green hydrogen is a clean energy source that only emits water vapour and leaves no residue in the air, unlike coal and oil. It has been used to fuel cars, airships, and spaceships for many years; however, the decarbonisation initiatives worldwide have given hydrogen the centre stage.
Green hydrogen production is facilitated through a chemical process known as electrolysis. The method uses an electrical current to separate the hydrogen from the oxygen in water. If this electricity is obtained from renewable sources, it will produce energy without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Obtaining green hydrogen through this method is essential in the energy transition. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that it would save 830 million tonnes of CO2 that are emitted annually when this gas is produced using fossil fuels.
How Element is facilitating sustainable hydrogen energy
Element produces green hydrogen by combining renewable electricity with water electrolysis and delivering the zero-carbon hydrogen, or its derivatives, to customers.
The company’s hydrogen production facilities utilise low-cost, high-output technologies to minimise consumptive water use.
Moreover, Element’s hydrogen storage methods match intermittent renewable power supply with variable hydrogen demand. The needs of the site then determine the appropriate storage method; however, all methods used are stored underground, as this is safer, reduces risk to the environment, and has less visual impact.
Building California’s largest hydrogen production facility
In January 2023, Element announced plans to build and operate one of California’s largest green hydrogen production plants in the City of Lancaster. With a production capacity of 20,000 tonnes of hydrogen from its first project phase, the Lancaster facility will be capable of supplying local demand as well as demand from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are less than 100 miles away.
This facility will also be one of the anchor projects in the City of Lancaster’s Eastside Overlay, which will be the site of the city’s burgeoning clean energy portfolio.
“The City of Lancaster is excited to expand our partnership with Element Resources on the largest renewable green hydrogen production project in the US,” said R Rex Parris, Mayor of the City of Lancaster.
He continued: “Lancaster is building a robust hydrogen production capacity to enable regional decarbonisation. We believe municipalities can lead the fight against climate change from the bottom up by unleashing businesses’ innovative capacities by removing barriers to market.”
Steve Meheen, CEO of Element Resources, added: “We are pleased to be working with the City of Lancaster. They have a proactive approach to the energy transition that sets the stage for early operations of the Lancaster Clean Energy Center, which is strategically located with access to highway and rail transportation to key southern California markets.
“The opportunity with the City of Lancaster is nothing less than a world-class green energy center serving the western United States and perhaps reaching into Asian markets as well; the welcome, co-operation, and collaboration from the City of Lancaster is outstanding.”
The facility, which is targeted to begin commercial operations in early 2025, will use dedicated solar to power Element’s electrolysers to produce zero-emission, green hydrogen. The increased hydrogen production capacity will serve the growing demand for clean mobility fuels as well as clean energy for manufacturing. The project will create around 250 jobs during the construction phase and 36 permanent jobs.
Element Resources expects to announce further plans to serve California’s growing green hydrogen market this year at Lancaster and other new green hydrogen facilities throughout the state.
Please note, this article will also appear in the fourteenth edition of our quarterly publication.