Home New mexico economy BayoTech’s first production center will be located in Albuquerque

BayoTech’s first production center will be located in Albuquerque

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Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Friday that BayoTech’s success in developing hydrogen-based energy demonstrates immense potential for diversifying New Mexico’s economy. (Mike Sandoval / For the Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

BayoTech Inc. plans to build 50 hydrogen production centers in the United States over the next three years, starting with its first on-site deployment in 2022 at a New Mexico Gas Co. facility in Albuquerque.

BayoTech, a local startup launched in 2015, built the world’s first compact on-site hydrogen generators based on technology originally developed by Sandia National Laboratories. The company has raised nearly $ 200 million in private equity to date and has established a manufacturing partnership with Farmington-based Process Equipment & Service Co. to build its hydrogen production facilities in New Mexico.

Now it is ready for aggressive commercial deployment of the generators, with NM Gas set to host BayoTech’s first “hydrogen hub”, the company said at a press conference with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Friday.

“This is an important day for us,” BayoTech CEO Mo Vargas said at the event, which was held at the company’s 15,000 square foot headquarters near the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park.

“We are building our first hydrogen hub in our hometown of Albuquerque,” ​​he said. “This is the first step on our path to becoming the largest distributed hydrogen company in the world. “

These are noble goals. But BayoTech has established extensive business partnerships with global companies to deploy its technology.

Last May, for example, BayoTech signed an agreement with Element Two – a UK-based hydrogen refueling station operator and deployer – to supply BayoTech’s production units for some 800 Element Two operations. And in June, it signed a separate agreement with GreenCore – which currently operates hundreds of electric vehicle and hydrogen refueling centers across the United States – to deliver hydrogen produced by BayoTech to more than 1,500 stations. -service that GreenCore plans to build by 2026.

The company says it now has more than $ 1 billion in project proposals with clients in its business pipeline around the world.

Lujan Grisham said that BayoTech’s success demonstrates immense potential for diversifying New Mexico’s economy through the development of hydrogen energy.

“This can, and I believe, provide an incredible and seismic opportunity for economic growth in the energy sector in New Mexico,” said the governor.

Hydrogen is emerging nationally and internationally as an essential tool for clean energy development as efforts to fully decarbonize the economy gain momentum. Indeed, hydrogen is a clean-burning fuel that could potentially reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in everything from power generation and transportation to carbon-intensive industrial production and the operation of heavy machinery and equipment.

Lujan Grisham is now spearheading a new statewide initiative to make New Mexico a national leader in hydrogen development and production. Cabinet officials are finalizing a proposed “Hydrogen Centers Act” aimed at establishing a legal framework for the state’s emerging hydrogen industry, setting out the rules and regulations necessary to encourage investments and operations here.

It will be presented as priority legislation during the next session in January.

“This is the cornerstone of what will happen during the session,” Lujan Grisham said on Friday. “We’re still working on some of the issues to cover all operational aspects, as this is a whole new space. “

Government officials and private investors hope to take advantage of a portion of the $ 8 billion in federal grants to build hydrogen hubs and demonstration projects in the United States, which were included in the infrastructure bill of $ 1.2 billion from President Joe Biden, recently approved by Congress.

“The federal government is considering hydrogen for the next phase of efforts to build the clean energy economy,” said Lujan Grisham. “… We can lead this kind of energy development and innovation with private investment and federal dollars. “

Yet these efforts are not without controversy. Environmental groups fear that focusing on hydrogen production will slow efforts to develop wind, solar and other types of renewable energy.

They also wonder if the production of hydrogen will actually reduce carbon emissions, since current technology relies on natural gas in a process called steam methane reform, or SMR, which extracts hydrogen molecules from methane, thus producing significant carbon emissions. And to reduce or eliminate those emissions, the developers plan to use carbon capture and sequestration, which environmental groups say is risky and commercially unproven technology.

BayoTech’s system also relies on SMR, but its compact generators significantly reduce emissions compared to the massive, centralized SMR plants in operation today. In addition, the units are located on-site, which significantly reduces carbon emissions from the transportation and delivery of hydrogen. It also drastically cuts costs, while helping to reduce or eliminate carbon emissions from end users who can replace fossil fuels with clean-burning hydrogen.

“You need to measure the reduction in carbon emissions by looking at the full lifecycle of hydrogen production, delivery and use,” said David Blivin of New York-based venture capital fund Cottonwood Technologies. -Mexico, which invested in BayoTech. “Emissions and carbon intensity are reduced every step of the way. “

Gerald Weseen, vice president of regulatory strategy and external affairs at NM Gas, said environmental concerns will be addressed through continued research and development. This is an essential objective for the hydrogen hub partnership with BayoTech, which allows the gas company to fully explore the advantages and challenges of integrating hydrogen into its natural gas distribution operations before deploy it.

“We need to look at the issues raised, but if we don’t act now, the technology will escape us,” Weseen told the Journal.

BayoTech’s hydrogen generator will be located at NM Gas’ Metro Service Center at Edith and Griegos in Midtown, where the company will test the use of hydrogen in common household appliances before later considering fuel injection. hydrogen in the company’s natural gas lines, which could reduce fuel emissions. when used in homes and businesses, Weseen said.

BayoTech currently employs 110 people, Vargas said. PESCO, its manufacturing partner in Farmington, is ramping up production of units, with up to 200 employees expected in the next few years.