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New Mexico Leaders Promote Hydrogen Production Despite Questionable Environmental Benefits
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New Mexico Leaders Promote Hydrogen Production Despite Questionable Environmental Benefits

New Mexico Leaders Promote Hydrogen Production Despite Questionable Environmental Benefits

Two big hydrogen-basedNew Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan.Grisham hopes to see business projects as the center of a wave in investment and jobs. Michelle Lujan Grisham is hoping to see a wave of investment and jobs in New Mexico. These projects arrived before Michelle’s Hydrogen Hub Act was able to make its debut at the upcoming legislative sessions. This bill will be her signature bill next year. A draft version highlighted broad-ranging tax breaks for hydrogen production and its use in everything, from transportation to power generation.

All indications suggest that the state’s natural gas resources will fuel this hydrogen future. Blue hydrogen is not derived from renewable energy sources, but rather from water. Blue hydrogen is a hot topic in the state’s environmental community.

Because natural gas is not green enough for the environment, it must be pluggedged in the natural gas production chain. Also, carbon emitted during hydrogen-making must be permanently sequestered.

Recent scientific studies have shown that hydrogen produced from natural gas would not be as beneficial if there were any leaks in its production chain.

New Mexico already faces problems with natural gas operators. Hydrogen production would significantly increase natural gas development in an already troubled state. Breaking Records for fossil fuel production. For one of these hydrogen projects, you will need to implement what could become the world’s largest carbon-sequestration program.

James Kenney, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), who enthusiastically supported governors plans, readily admitted the state’s problem with emissions from natural gas wells and infrastructure.

He states that while we are at 100%, we aren’t where we need to go to hold the industry accountable.

He says that I have more violations to deal with than I have staff. That’s a huge struggle and point of frustration.

Without significant funding increases for his department and the state Oil Conservation Division (OCD), hydrogen production, and natural gas production, could rise ahead of the state’s ability to stop fugitive emissions from the gas fields.

This would quickly negate any environmental benefit of hydrogen fuel produced here. It would also completely derail the governors state decarbonization goals. Natural gas is made up of approximately 90% methane, a greenhouse gases that is up to 80 timesMore potent in heat-trapping capabilities than CO2.

A pair of Recent scientific studiesEven if the natural gas production chain is drastically reduced, it is claimed that any hydrogen made from natural gases would be lost because of leaks.

The process of making hydrogen can have serious environmental consequences, especially if it is done via steam methane Reforming, which compresses and heats natural gases to make hydrogen.

Hydrogen has many advantages over traditional fossil fuels. It can be used alone or in combination with natural gas to produce electricity. However, it doesn’t eliminate all of the CO2 that results from burning natural gas. When it is burned by itself, it produces nitrous oxides which can be dangerous air pollutants, but no carbon dioxide.

However, hydrogen production can have serious environmental consequences. This is especially true when hydrogen is made using steam methane reforming. SMR is a process that heats and compresses natural gas to make hydrogen. It is an energy-intensive process that produces a lot of CO2 byproducts.

Two projects are currently underway in New Mexico that revolve around the SMR process.

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In December,Lujan Grisham visited Albuquerque-based BayoTech to mark the companys partnership with New Mexico Gas Company (NMGC). The gas company is the initial customer for BayoTechs compact hydrogen-making machines. It is a shiny, two-story scaffold made of pipes, tanks and pipes that is twice the size of three shipping containers.

During a talk at the factory floor, she stated that the best way to address climate change is to decarbonize all sections and sectors.

She said that we are decarbonizing the utility sector and BayoTech investments offer an opportunity to decarbonize transportation.

Sort of.

The machine is also called a “hydrogen hub” just like the state itself, as described in the governor’s plan. The NMGC will purchase one to test the ability to mix hydrogen into its gas supplies. Hub production will soon ramp up from there.

Three are planned. [hydrogen hubs]BayoTech’s chief marketing officer Catharine Reid says that next year, it will grow to 14 and then 50 the following years, respectively.

The BayoTech facility in New Mexico’s hydrogen production system. Jerry Redfern.

BayoTechs hub uses an SMR technology developed in town at Sandia National Laboratories. This process makes hydrogen more efficiently than other industrial processes. It still requires a lot of natural gases to do so and produces CO2 as a result.

How much CO2 do you need?

BayoTechs hub produces one-fifth of the hydrogen produced by their commercial units. However, a company executive stated that a fully operational final production hub could fuel 200 hydrogen powered vehicles. According to the company’s figures, those vehicles would be very eco-friendly. WebsiteThe EPAs carbon calculatorThe hub would emit as much carbon dioxide as 720 cars with the same engine over the course a year.

BayoTech has not yet developed carbon capture technology for its hubs, although they are in discussions with two companies. Unless a customer adds carbon capture technology, it is just vented to all who are interested.

In physics and in chemistry, there is no free lunch It takes more energyTo make hydrogen, you need to get more hydrogen from the process.

*   *   *

About a hundred mileThe abandoned Escalante coal-fired electric power plant is located in Prewitt, New Mexico, just west of the BayoTech office. Kenney and Secretary of New Mexico Economic Development Department Alicia Keyes visited the facility two days before the BayoTech event. A Texas-based businessman is looking to reopen the facility and retrofit it to run entirely on hydrogen.

Escalantes previous owner, Tri-State Generation,Close the plant2020: To reduce the company’s carbon footprint and to replace the generated electricity by solar generation.

Wiley Rhodes says that the empty facility is better than a gold mine.

Rhodes, who was the CEO of Texas-based Newpoint Gas, and co-founder at Escalante H2 power, saw the potential for hydrogen to produce electricity a few years ago. A business associate pointed out the empty Escalante facility.

The size and quality of the opportunity are important. SoHe said it was big. It’s in perfect condition. He also said that unlike BayoTech, we were able take existing technologies and put them together in a unique order to complete the project. Even so, the cost of existing technology is high. He claims the project will run to $600 million and is being supported by Tallgrass Energy, a division within the Blackstone Group investment funds.

His excitement about the project is almost palpable. But, there is one huge physical limitation.

The amount of carbon we can store will determine the scale at which we are able to develop.

He’s referring to a lot more carbon to store from natural gas.

Both carbon emission reduction and job creation must be discussed as the first topics.

Wiley Rhodes is co-founder of Escalante Water Power

According to Rhodes calculations, the plant would use approximately 78 million cubic yards of natural gas and produce 75 million cubic feet CO2. It will also create enough hydrogen for 270 megawatts per day. All the natural gas used to make hydrogen would be used locally.

Rhodes claims that the hydrogen-powered power station will be the largest on the planet.

The current technology does not allow hydrogen to be burned efficiently in a turbine like natural gasoline. However, small amounts of hydrogen can be combined with natural gases to reduce overall emissions. This scenario is covered by the Governor’s Hydrogen Hub Act, which provides tax breaks.

Rhodes will burn hydrogen directly at Escalante, boiling water to turn a turbine to produce electricity. Although hydrogen does not produce CO2, it does produce nitrous oxide (NOx), which is a powerful air pollutant. According toAn articleThe Union of Concerned Scientists says it can create more than what you get from natural gas burning.

Directly downstream from Escalante, are the pueblos de Laguna and Acoma.

The NOx emissions, it’s a big one. And it’s an important one. And it’s one that is being addressed, Rhodes says. But, he says, carbon emission reduction and creation of jobs must be the first two topics you discuss.

Then there is the question of carbon sequestration.

Massive carbon sequestration programs HaveA rocky terrainHistoriesIn North America. The world’s largest carbon capture-and-sequestration project was shut down earlier in the year. Chevrons Massive Gorgon facilityThe west coast of Australia couldn’t pump enough CO2 into its soil to keep up production. If Rhodes plans are correct, the Escalante project would sequester 1.4 millions metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. It would be one of the most important CO2 sequestration projects in the world if it was operational now. top-10Projects for sequestration on the planet

*   *   *

Lujan Grisham shared his joy at BayoTech’s appearance before a crowd that included journalists, businesspeople and TV reporters.

The sky in New Mexico was clear and bright in early December. Temperatures were also consistently 15-plus degrees higher than average. This is another sign of a changing climate that is fueled by increasing amounts of CO2 in our atmosphere.

This changing climate was the main focus of her efforts during her first three terms in office. She PromisedTo decarbonize the state by 2050, OCD and NMED were charged with preventing spills, leaks, and waste in the oil-and-gas sector, which accounts for more than half of all carbon emitted in the state.

We’re not going to meet our 2030 goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions unless we do more. Hydrogen is one example of what more can do.

James Kenney cabinet secretary, New Mexico Environment Department

To this end, the states have recently implemented methane rules and soon will implement ozone precursor rules. These rules are, as governors like to point out, some the most progressive in the country.

These policies are not enough.

We’re not going to meet our [state]Kenney says that the 2030 goal of a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 45% must be met unless we do more. Plus, hydrogen is included.

Last month, Kenney and Lujan Grisham were both present at COP26 in Scotland. He says there was a consensus that if you don’t use hydrogen the ability to get to net zero by 2050, or even meet climate goals by 2030, are in jeopardy.

Kenney said that while he could not speak in detail, Kenney stated that state agencies were talking to companies about making hydrogen from other sources than natural gas. A number of agencies are also considering how to be included in the carbon sequestration regulation space alongside the federal government.

Funding is the key to all state work.

He said that you can make all the laws and rules you want. If nobody is complying with them, you don’t gain the benefit environmentally or for public health. Enforcement costs money, and compliance requires enforcement.

OCD has requested a 27% increase in funding for the upcoming legislative session, which almost exclusively deals with state funding issues. This would allow OCD to fund 25 new positions that monitor compliance, inspections, and permitting. Kenney has requested a 44% rise at the Environment Department in order to better monitor oil and gas sector emissions. While Kenney hopes that the money will come through I’m not so sure. He says. Let’s face it, the Legislature will decide the final word.

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