The Arizona-California border, between the four major metro markets of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego, will soon be home to perhaps one of the most ambitious hydrogen production and utilization sites in the US, featuring advanced transportation test tracks, a hydrogen research institute, a clean fuel airport, marina access and a green housing development. 

Hyve 1 is its name, and it’s certainly one to remember. The unique mini ecosystem is a multi-phase clean energy and sustainable living development project that ultimately hopes to produce upwards of four million kg of green hydrogen per annum to support the blossoming North American hydrogen market.

Led by three managing partners, Christopher Barker, Jack Jakub and Robert Hibbs, Hyve 1 is currently developing a 600+ MW solar field, however, green hydrogen will certainly be its number one focus moving forward. “We have an opportunity to redefine what is possible in clean energy, transportation and sustainable living here in the US and across the world,” Barker told gasworld in an exclusive interview.

“The demand for green hydrogen is rapidly outpacing the current market supply. With our location on the Arizona-California border and our access to rail, gas pipelines and multiple US Interstate freeways and waterways, we are well positioned to be a key hydrogen supplier to some of the fastest-growing hydrogen markets in the US.” 

California has notoriously been recognized as the leading state when it comes to hydrogen in the US, however, Texas is slowly closing the gap as it also strives to be a leader in the clean energies market and is aggressively targeting the hydrogen space as part of this. Taking these ambitions of the two states into account, it goes without saying that the location for Hyve 1 couldn’t be better, and the opportunities it could present are only set to grow. 

“Hyve 1 sits between four major metro markets: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Diego, which allows us to provide green hydrogen fuel to some of the largest and fastest growing parts of the US – plus seaports for international green hydrogen export,” Barker continued.

“With our positioning, Hyve 1 has multiple fuel distribution option: hydrogen fuel transport via tricks on I-40 and I-11 interstate freeway systems, large volume liquid hydrogen transport via the transcontinental rail line the runs from the Port of Los Angeles to Chicago and hydrogen fuel injection into one of the largest pipelines serving some of the largest utilities in the US.”

Hyve1_PropertyMap

Source: Hyve 1

 Taking hydrogen transportation to the next level 

Transport is a truly diverse sector and one that Hyve 1 is really spearheading through its development. From road to track, sea to sky, each mode of transport presents a different challenge for decarbonization applications.

The propriety of hydrogen fuel cell application to each mode of transport differs greatly, one reason being the sector’s momentum over the past decade. Skepticism has forced overcompensating proof of concept before actual roll-out, but now greater acceptance of hydrogen’s capabilities across all sectors has only recently become apparent and the US is putting a big focus on this application.

It has been predicted by many that, over the next decade, many transport manufacturers will convert more than half of their new vehicles to either electric or hydrogen-powered systems – and some already have promised to have fully made the conversion by 2030-2040. Showcasing this in one of the most aggressive pieces of legislation in favor of the hydrogen shift, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in September 2020, committing to only zero-emission cars and passenger truck sales in the state by 2035.

“One of the biggest drivers in the US hydrogen market is the transportation industry pushing toward a zero-emission future and a desire to create new fuel options for longer operating range, faster refuel tines and better environmental and economic outcomes,” Barker told gasworld. “Rising fossil fuel prices, climate change, global conflicts and the desire for added energy services are also driving this pilot to exploring added clean energy options.”

“Hyve 1 will start with about two-three million kg of annual green hydrogen produced via electrolysis for servicing Arizona and California fuel stations, transit providers, trucking-freight-logistics companies and utilities. We will then steadily ramp toward a four million kg per annum production rate – which will be a stairstep increase in production to pace market demand.”

“With increased production volumes, we will be able to support larger scale transport services – rail, shipping, aviation and pipeline distribution and consumption. End-users will evolve to include aviation, trucking, freight and logistics, large fleet operations, seaports, drayage equipment, mining and maritime – modes of transport operating 24x7 that are the backbone of our commerce system.”

To help meet its ambitious goals in the hydrogen transportation space, Hyve 1 has said it is currently involved in hydrogen offtake discussions with some of the largest aviation companies, seaports, transportation fleet operators, commercial building designers and utilities across the US and international markets.

“We are in the midst of a huge shift in transportation and energy with a push toward a low-carbon or zero-emissions future. While battery-powered transportation systems serve a purpose, they have limitations in range, charging time, cost of vehicles and longevity of battery systems.”

“By offering a hydrogen fuel option, fuel range is more than doubled refueling times are shorter, emissions are zero and the ability to scale across large fleets is much easier, less time consuming and less costly.”

TrainDepot-Hydrogen_Production

Source: Hyve 1

Education is key 

When the world is having to adapt to any sort of change, such as the clean energies shift, education is key, and this is something that Hyve 1 is also looking to prioritize within its landmark development.

This educational focus comes in the form of the Clean Energy Academic Research Center, within is being developed in partnership with the university community. Covering 960 acres of land, the site will be focused on exploring the benefits of clean energy for use in a variety of applications.

Once open, the Institute will also act as a space for nearby universities and colleges to establish a satellite campus focus on clean energy and innovation. With the site, Hyve 1 hopes that it can both support the buildout of its unique campus, but also build-out the workforce that could be behind the future industry as it continues to flourish.

Supporting Hyve 1 on its hydrogen-fuelled mission, Arizona Legislature Representative Frank Carroll, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee and member of the Natural Resources Energy and Water Committee, said, “Arizona is the 48th state and at such a youthful age it is rapidly progressed from the days of cattle, cotton, and citrus to be a leading state in technology and innovation.”

“Our industries include agriculture, aerospace, defence, energy, semiconductors, robotic mining, and health care. Our universities and the private sector work collaboratively in R&D at levels never seen. Our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and achieve sustainable goals speak to the people that live and work in Arizona. On behalf of my constituents, I welcome Hyve 1 to Arizona and look forward to the contributions that green hydrogen will make to our environment and economy.”

Gary Dirks, Arizona State University Professor and Senior Director of the Global Future Laboratory, added, “The opportunity for hydrogen in the global energy system looks very bright. Yet there is much to do to advance the technology and the way it is deployed. Partnership between universities, business and government are essential in getting clean hydrogen fuel and products deployed sustainably.”