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Element Fuels readies site for H2-powered refinery in south Texas (U.S.)

  • Located within the Port of Brownsville, the complex is designed to exclusively process domestic high-gravity shale oil into high-octane, low-carbon fuels and low-carbon hydrogen, produce reliable electricity.

Element Fuels Holdings has completed site preparation and preconstruction on a new hydrogen-powered refinery and combined-cycle power plant within the Port of Brownsville, Texas. The Element complex is innovatively designed to produce and recycle hydrogen using advanced technologies that will generate and deliver significantly cleaner, higher-quality fuels, including much-needed high-octane gasoline and electricity for commercial and consumer consumption.

“Element Fuels has received the necessary permitting to construct and operate a refinery capable of producing in excess of 160,000 bbl, or approximately 6.7 MMgpd of finished gasoline, diesel and jet fuel,” said Founder and Co-CEO John Calce. 

Expected to be operational in 2027, Element Fuels’ first of its kind refinery combines advanced, commercially proven technologies, provided by best-in-class partners. Designed to process exclusively high gravity domestic shale oil, the refinery will produce low-carbon intensity fuels that will materially reduce carbon emissions. 

The facility will also produce enough low-carbon hydrogen to supply approximately 100% of the refinery’s fuel requirements, essentially eliminating CO2 emissions. Hydrogen produced in excess of the refinery’s needs will be used to generate low carbon, utility-scale electricity from Element’s hydrogen-capable combined-cycle gas turbine power plant. Over 100 MW of excess electricity generated from Element’s power plant will be made available to the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to reliably support the surrounding community’s needs. The facility is an industry-first example of a sustainable economy and represents a significant step forward for the fossil to renewable and lower-carbon energy transition. 

Of the new refinery construction, Calce said, “Element Fuels is not only ushering in the next generation of clean fuels, we’re also proving that, without a doubt, there is a way to produce  higher quality, cleaner, higher-octane fuels that significantly advance the energy transition. This changes everything – for the industry, for consumers, and for the well-being of the planet.” 

The Element complex is being built on more than 240 acres within the Port of Brownsville, a deepwater port in South Texas that has become an emerging, strategic location for the movement of bulk petroleum and refined products, natural gas liquids, and other specialized bulk liquid commodities. The complex will increase the economy and improve quality of life for workforce members and their families by creating hundreds of jobs at above market wages. To further support the region, Element Fuels is working with local and Port officials to advance the Justice40 initiative established by the U.S. Department of Commerce to contribute to a climate-positive environment that provides residents of the Brownsville area and Rio Grande Valley with clean energy and affordable and sustainable housing. 

Element Fuels has contracted with McDermott, to provide front-end engineering design services for the facility, including offsites and utilities.

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