Alaska set to dominate clean hydrogen market

Alaska can expedite commercial-scale clean hydrogen generation and dominate the market.

Energy and environmental benefits increase hydrogen demand. Hydrogen, the most energy-dense fuel, is abundant. Hydrogen is endless. Hydrogen energy is carbon-free and emits just water and air.

Because of these advantages, regulators are offering strong incentives to create a clean hydrogen energy industry. The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, supported by Alaska’s congressional delegation, provides up to $7 billion to build six to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across America. Alaska has everything going for it in this competition.

Asian economies and populations are pushing energy demand. Hydrogen could help Japan and South Korea fulfill 2050 net-zero carbon ambitions. Due to our proximity, these nations are our strongest regional friends and trade heavily with Alaska.

Japan’s long-term goal is to build a complete hydrogen ecosystem with “a global supply chain and establishing onsite storage facilities in Japan.” Mitsubishi Corporation and TOYO Engineering Corporation, two renowned Japanese energy businesses, are cooperating with Alaska Gasline Development Corporation and Hilcorp to assess the commercial viability of creating clean hydrogen from carbon-free ammonia. South Korea is increasing hydrogen demand from 130,000 tons in 2018 to 5.26 million tons in 2040.

Anchorage’s Ted Stevens International Airport, the world’s second-largest aviation freight hub, is ideally placed between North America and Asia, allowing Alaska to fuel this crucial supply line with hydrogen to help decarbonize the world. The Defense Department, the world’s largest petroleum user, is studying the long-term usage of hydrogen fuel in military operations in Alaska, home to critical North Pacific military bases.

Alaska’s resources provide us an edge in hydrogen production. Alaska has plenty of undiscovered natural gas. 40 trillion cubic feet of developed and conventional, but stranded, natural gas makes the North Slope one of the world’s energy super basins. Natural gas is vital for clean hydrogen production and will develop for decades as a clean energy source. Natural gas produces 95% of U.S. hydrogen because methane is hydrogen-rich.

With all major permissions and authorizations, the Alaska LNG Project is negotiating with developers and investors to complete engineering and start building to commercialize North Slope natural gas. Alaska LNG is already one of the world’s lowest-emission LNG projects. Hydrogen production from Alaska LNG natural gas will uncover more environmental benefits. Hydrogen production has low carbon intensity since carbon is safely captured and stored. The Alaska LNG facility will be in Cook Inlet, which scientists say can store 50 gigatons of carbon, the most on the U.S. West Coast. 50 gigatons equals several decades of Japan’s carbon output.

As technology matures and grows, we can use renewables like hydropower, tidal, and wind to make hydrogen. Alaska has the most of these resources in the U.S., thus tapping them allows for a diverse, world-leading hydrogen portfolio.