Fill ’er up with hydrogen.
BayoTech, an Albuquerque innovator in hydrogen solutions, is building its first “hydrogen hub,” a dispensation station like a gas station where hydrogen-powered vehicles can fill up.
The first hub on New Mexico Gas Company property in Albuquerque on Edith Boulevard is also set to produce 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen a day — like having the refinery at the gas station.
BayoTech plans to build 50 hydrogen hubs across the U.S. and United Kingdom in the next three years, BayoTech CEO Mo Vargas said.
“Our goal is to be the largest distributing hydrogen company in the world,” Vargas said.
Vargas said the plan is to build the first three hubs in 2022 — two in Albuquerque — 11 in 2023 and 36 in 2024. The first Albuquerque hub should be able to tank up hydrogen-powered vehicles by summer.
Vargas said hydrogen-powered cars aren’t available yet in New Mexico, but Toyota and Hyundai are selling them in California. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who spoke Friday at BayoTech as the company announced its commercial hydrogen hubs, said early in her administration that a rural school district mentioned to her a desire to convert to hydrogen buses.
The state is on board with BayoTech’s ambitions.
Lujan Grisham intends to introduce a Hydrogen Hub Act in the upcoming legislative session to establish a legal framework for public-private partnerships. The New Mexico Environment Department on Friday announced a $7.3 million diesel emission reduction fund to replace freight trucks and buses with, preferably, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
“This will be a seismic potential economic growth in the energy sector in New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said. “Here is a chance to decarbonize the transportation sector. [BayoTech] is a significant effort in that regard.“
New Mexico Gas is collaborating with BayoTech on a pilot project to test the blending of hydrogen with natural gas.
“This is critically important for the future of our state,” said Gerald Weseen, vice president of strategy and business development at New Mexico Gas.
BayoTech is a spinoff company from Sandia National Laboratories technology. The company was founded in a small section of a 17,000-square-foot industrial building in 2015 and, as of six months ago, now occupies the entire structure at the northern edge of Albuquerque.
The first three years were spent in research and development with now the seventh-generation hydrogen production system in operation. It can produce 200 kilograms of hydrogen a day by extracting hydrogen from natural gas in a process involving mixing natural gas with steam.
The next three years involve adapting the system for manufacturing and scalability. Vargas said the 50 hubs will range in capacity from 1,000 kilograms to 7,000 kilograms and will be built in modules and assembled on site.
Vargas sees customers as hydrogen-powered vehicle owners, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories and industrial users.
The company already has $30 million in revenue, in part through reselling hydrogen, but the commercial hub will enable BayoTech to produce its own hydrogen. Vargas anticipates $80 million revenue next year.
BayoTech has 110 employees with 40 in Albuquerque and the rest in Tulsa, Okla.