Fear not Houston oil and gas industry. Hydrogen is here to save the day. Well, kinda.
The years of unfulfilled promises were summed up by this saying: “Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be.”
That, however, is changing — and rapidly — creating opportunities for Houston to become a center of a global hydrogen industry expected to grow 45 percent to nearly $200 billion in 2030, according to the market analytics company Prescient & Strategic Intelligence. Houston, the capital of the oil and gas industry, already is home to 48 plants that extract hydrogen from natural gas, producing 3.6 metric tons of hydrogen a year or more than one-third of U.S. production, used mostly by refineries and industrial plants.
The region also has one of the most extensive networks of hydrogen pipelines — some 1,600 miles — and storage facilities in the world, according to Brett Perlman, CEO of the Center for Houston’s Future, a local think tank.
The Houston area is well positioned to be a major player in the development of a robust hydrogen energy market in the near future, Perlman said. Energy companies can create a significant market in blue hydrogen within the next two to three years adding carbon capture to gray hydrogen production, he said.
Some end-users already are looking to the Houston area as the source of hydrogen production to fuel their projects. The utility Entergy is developing a project at its Sabine power plant near Port Arthur that would use hydrogen as a fuel to generate electricity.