US industrial gases company Air Products said it is developing a $4.5 billion clean energy complex in Louisiana, set to be the world’s largest blue hydrogen schemes so far.

The company will construct a blue hydrogen manufacturing complex near Burnside in Ascension Parish, producing more than 750 million cubic feet per day of blue hydrogen.

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Blue hydrogen products are produced using hydrocarbons as a feedstock, with the carbon dioxide in the production process captured for permanent sequestration.

Louisiana's State Mineral and Energy Board has approved the permanent sequestration of the CO2. More than an estimated 5 million tonnes per annum of CO2 will be permanently stored about a mile below ground at inland sites.

Air Products said about 95% of the CO2 generated will be captured.

“Air Products is excited to announce this investment in clean energy with the governor of Louisiana,” chief executive Seifi Ghasemi said.

“This landmark megaproject will not only create jobs but make Louisiana and Ascension Parish leaders in the US clean energy transition.”

With operations expected in 2026, the project could create 170 new direct jobs and 413 new indirect jobs in the region, with possibly more than 2000 construction jobs over three years.

“Carbon capture and sequestration are important to Louisiana’s efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while maintaining jobs and growing our manufacturing base,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said.

“This project is a clear demonstration of our ability to grow the Louisiana economy while lowering the carbon footprint of industry."

Green vs Blue

Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas feedstocks, with the carbon dioxide by-product from hydrogen production captured and stored. However, the process is not emissions free.

Green hydrogen is made using electrolysis powered by renewable energy to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen, creating an emissions-free fuel.

Air Products said a portion of the produced blue hydrogen will be compressed and supplied to customers via its own US Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline network, which it said stretches more than 700 miles from Galveston Bay in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana.

The network can supply more than 1.6 billion cubic feet of hydrogen per day from about 25 production facilities, including Air Products' own Port Arthur, Texas facility.

The balance of the blue hydrogen from the new Ascension Parish facility will be used to make blue ammonia that will be transported around the world and converted back to blue hydrogen for transportation and other markets.

As part of the agreement between Louisiana and Air Products, the state offered the company access to LED FastStart, a workforce development program through Louisiana Economic Development.

Air Products also received a $5 million grant to offset construction costs for the plant and pipeline.