Mesh of the Titans: Industry giants Worley, IBM & ABB working together on H2 Infrastructure build-out

Feb. 23, 2022
By fast-tracking and standardizing how they engineer-design-operate, this collaboration is expected to reduce the levelized cost of green hydrogen and help customers to decarbonize their operations further

Staff and Wire Reports

The three-party collaboration of Worley, ABB and IBM aims to develop an integrated, digitally-enabled solution to facilitate facility owners to quickly, cheaply and safely build green hydrogen assets and operate those assets efficiently.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the three firms, Worley will provide the engineering, procurement, and construction expertise for the projects.

“By fast-tracking and standardizing how we engineer-design-operate, this collaboration is expected to reduce the levelized cost of green hydrogen and help our customers to decarbonize their operations further,” Chris Gill, Senior Vice President of Low-carbon Hydrogen at Worley, said.

Green hydrogen is a form of clean energy made from water through electrolysis, which is powered by renewable energy. While many industries want to invest in green hydrogen, high production costs pose a barrier to driving market adoption and achieving scale over natural gas or blue hydrogen, according to the Worley website release.

IBM will provide systems integration services and data framework and management solutions.

“While many industries have been able to adopt wind and solar to help decarbonize operations, energy-intensive industries, such as petrochemical, cement and steel, require heat temperatures and combustion that cannot be achieved with these renewables,” said Zahid ‘Z’ Habib, Vice President, Global Energy & Resources Industry Leader, IBM Consulting. “Green hydrogen can help address these distinct needs in a more scalable sustainable way.”

ABB will provide the electrical infrastructure, operations digitalization and optimization, automation and energy management solutions.

The collaboration aims to address the challenges that facility owners face when transitioning to green hydrogen. These challenges include high production costs and access to an abundant supply of renewable energy.

“Hydrogen is at the heart of the energy transition and is essential to decarbonizing a wide range of hard-to-abate industries,” ABB Energy Industries Vice President, Energy Transition Bruno Roche said. “Together with Worley and IBM, we’re dedicated to enable a new concept to accelerate the adoption of low carbon hydrogen and efficiently meet the growing demand.”

Hydrogen does not emit carbon when burned, but it is not naturally mined or produced. It must be created by electrolysis or steam reforming of methane gas, which is a more carbon-intensive effort.

The use of green hydrogen in the energy mix is still more promise than reality currently, but many large industry players are investing big in the potential of H2. Some forecasts call for the sector to grow 10-fold in only five years.

Financial firm Goldman Sachs reported Wednesday that hydrogen could become a $1 trillion industry in the road to Net-zero carbon by 2050.