ABB Inks Agreement with Bair Energy on Texas Green Hydrogen Project
ABB and Bair Energy penned an agreement to explore using digital twin technology at an upcoming green hydrogen production facility in Texas.
Swiss tech giant ABB and Washington-based Bair Energy recently inked a memorandum of understanding to explore using the former’s digital twin simulation technology to integrate electrical and process controls at an upcoming liquified green hydrogen production facility in Texas.
A rendering of the Clear Fork Texas Project, a solar-powered green hydrogen production facility expected to launch in 2025. Image used courtesy of ABB
Through ABB’s Ability 800xA Simulator and Process Power Simulator, the digital twin would present a virtual representation of the plant’s design, operation, and maintenance. According to ABB, integrating these controls via simulation enables a shorter startup period and helps train operators and test changes in a realistic environment.
Expected to begin operations in 2025, the Clear Fork Texas Project is billed as one of the largest solar + electrolyzer projects producing green hydrogen locally in the U.S. Green hydrogen, made through water electrolysis powered by renewable electricity sources, is gaining interest in the clean energy market because it outputs little to no emissions. A recent market research report from GlobalData forecasts significant growth in low-carbon hydrogen adoption amid the global energy transition.
A rendering of the Clear Fork Texas Project’s hydrogen production area and fueling station. Image used courtesy of Clean Energy Holdings
The Clear Fork Texas Project’s name is a nod to the Clear Fork Brazos River near Sylvester. Gas from the solar-powered facility will be liquified on-site for shipment to customers building hydrogen fueling networks in the transportation sector. Phase one will start with 250 megawatts (MW) of capacity and is expected to churn out 33,000 kilograms (kg) of green hydrogen per day via an electrolyzer system. The following phases will scale up to 1 gigawatt (GW) and 132,000 kg daily by 2028.
In a statement, Bair Energy CEO Nicholas Bair said ABB’s Adaptive Execution project methodology will help cut the project’s capital expenses (CAPEX) by 20% and accelerate the delivery time by 10-20%. ABB’s website touts Adaptive Execution as an approach that streamlines project design, execution, and operation, bringing all three stages together to integrate expert teams, technologies, and processes. The company claims the methodology yields 15-40% in CAPEX savings, reducing startup hours by 40% and project schedules by 10-40%.
ABB has some experience in supplying technology for similar projects. The company recently announced it would help integrate hydrogen and electricity production at an upcoming green hydrogen facility powered by offshore wind near Sweden’s east coast.
Bair’s Green Hydrogen and Technology Alliance
The memorandum of understanding adds ABB to Bair Energy’s Green Hydrogen and Technology Alliance, of which Bair is the managing partner. The alliance is headed by Clean Energy Holdings (CEH), which announced its first partners in 2022, with Wisconsin-based Equix joining to bring engineering, procurement, and construction expertise and Bair Energy serving as the alliance representative and program management and construction management (PMCM) lead.
Image used courtesy of LinkedIn
New York-headquartered ING Americas was selected to secure financing for the project, and Australian professional services firm Worley will provide the front-end engineering and design package. Chart Industries, an energy and gas market equipment manufacturer, will work with CEH on the technology needed to liquefy, store, and transport hydrogen to customers worldwide.
A model of the Clear Fork Texas Project site. The project will start with 250 MW capacity and then scale up to 1 GW at full production in 2028. Image used courtesy of Clean Energy Holdings
CEH says the Clear Fork Texas Project will draw solar power from a 250 MW behind-the-meter facility. The developers plan to expand that capacity to 1 GW upon the project’s full build-out. Wind turbines will be added for more power generation, and the hydrogen liquefaction system will run partly on natural gas enabled by on-site deposits. CEH says it will purchase renewable energy credits to offset the natural gas emissions.
In February, CEH purchased solar photovoltaic modules totaling 380 MW of nameplate capacity from Philadelphia Solar. The solar panels will be installed across 1,000 acres of desert land.
The Texas project isn’t CEH’s only green hydrogen project underway. The company announced plans in 2021 to build a 600 MW facility in Colorado. The two-phase “Clear Creek Project” will feature a wind-powered green hydrogen production plant expected to produce 35,000 kg daily.
CEH also planned to build a “Simpson Ridge Green Hydrogen Project” in Wyoming but was denied a conditional use permit last year over concerns about the plant’s water demands. Days later, the company selected the site in Sylvester, Texas, for the Clear Fork project.