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Olin, Plug Power target hydrogen

by Michael McCoy
May 6, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 16

The chemical maker Olin plans to get into the green hydrogen business through an agreement with the hydrogen company Plug Power. Olin says it is the largest US producer of electrolytic hydrogen, which it generates during the electrolysis of salt into chlorine and caustic soda. But much of its output is either vented into the atmosphere or burned at less than hydrogen’s fuel value, Olin CEO Scott Sutton told analysts on a conference call. Plug Power calls itself the world’s largest buyer of liquid hydrogen, which it uses to fuel its network of hydrogen fuel-cell systems and fueling stations. To start, Olin will capture and liquefy 15 metric tons (t) per day of hydrogen at its chlor-alkali plant in St. Gabriel, Louisiana; that will help Plug Power get to its goal of producing 70 t of green hydrogen per day by the end of the year. The project and an existing supply agreement for the fuel-cell market represent only 6% of Olin’s hydrogen supply, Sutton said. “This step that we took with Plug Power was really just the first step,” he said. Sutton acknowledged on the call that Olin’s hydrogen, while a by-product, is not considered “green.” He said the company plans to gain green designation by conducting its electrolysis with renewable energy.


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