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John Cockerill advances US expansion of hydrogen in Houston area with launch of gigafactory in Baytown

Published Dec 09, 2023 by Taylor Tatum

John Cockerill Baytown expansion

John Cockerill Hydrogen, a world leading electrolyzer manufacturer announced its US entry with the acquisition of manufacturing space in Baytown for a new gigafactory. The facility is expected to create 200 new jobs and produce 1GW per year of electrolyzers.

John Cockerill Hydrogen will serve the North American market from Houston and provide a domestic supply chain, local customer support, and green hydrogen production equipment. Using existing buildings retrofitted with new equipment and leveraging on John Cockerill Hydrogen's extensive experience through its other plants around the world (Europe and China), production is expected to begin as early as Q3 2024 and will be among the first operational alkaline manufacturing facilities of this size in the US.

“We are excited for the US launch, the first step in our partnership journey with North American businesses and stakeholders who seek to decarbonize and advance the energy transition,” said François Michel, CEO of John Cockerill Group.

Active since 2005 in the American industry and energy sectors, John Cockerill has installed in the US more than 100 heat recovery steam generators, 6000 heat treatment furnaces and lines, steel processing lines for leading US steelmakers and surface treatment lines for the North American aviation industry.

US executives chose Houston and specifically the Baytown – Chambers County site for its proximity to transport routes including a rail spur on site, major highways, nearby barge access which are key to facilitating inbound and outbound logistics, and for its significant base of hydrogen use including refining and petrochemicals and existing infrastructure such as export terminals, gas storage capacities and hydrogen pipelines. Additionally, Houston recently secured its place as one of seven regional hydrogen hubs in the US as designated by the Department of Energy, providing a network of energy transition partners and a favorable environment for innovation.

“With an existing energy ecosystem comprised of competitive natural resources, a highly skilled talent base, and existing infrastructure, Houston was the natural choice for our entry to North America,” said Nicolas de Coignac, President of the Americas for John Cockerill. “We look forward to partnering with local and state officials, business organizations, academic institutions and other Houston-area stakeholders playing a part in meeting the ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and ensuring energy security and resilience.”

In addition to the Baytown facility, John Cockerill Hydrogen also has a local head office with support functions and operations located in Houston.

John Cockerill has been involved in building and advancing the hydrogen ecosystem in Houston through its leadership position as a steering committee member of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Houston Energy Transition Initiative (HETI). Among other initiatives, HETI aims to develop an electrolyzer manufacturing cluster. John Cockerill executives also had a leadership role in the recent Hydrogen Hubs Conference in August which convened energy industry leaders, lawyers, financial services companies, elected officials and others to move hydrogen hubs forward.

“We are pleased to welcome John Cockerill Hydrogen’s highly anticipated U.S. launch to Houston,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “This momentous announcement -- closely following the U.S. Energy Department’s selection of HyVelocity to develop a Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub – serves as a resounding testament to our city’s unrivaled status as the energy — and energy transition — capital of the world. With our exceptional infrastructure and top-tier talent, Houston is primed for exponential growth. John Cockerill Hydrogen’s partnership within our hydrogen ecosystem will be nothing short of transformative. Together, we will shape the future of energy and solidify Houston’s position in the clean hydrogen space.”

John Cockerill Hydrogen plans to host a groundbreaking event later this year, featuring company executives, local and state leaders, business organizations and other energy industry influencers.

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