“We’re seeing customers try to take startup ideas and bring them to scale quickly. It’s important they understand the steps to build and automate these plants safely,” Gordon explains. “But hydrogen is not the easiest molecule to contain, control or measure. There’s a ton of technical challenges.”
Avid is using its decades of integration experience to help clients overcome these issues. Along with green hydrogen, another priority area for Avid is helping customers reduce single-use plastics. The solutions provider supports several clients who are developing novel ways of producing sustainable products.
“It’s similar to what we've seen in green hydrogen,” Gordon says. “How do you scale up? How do you build a large manufacturing facility, leverage your lab knowledge to run an actual plant and reduce time to market, all while producing a safe and consistent product?”
Gordon’s answer: start with standards, a set of rules and tools used regardless of technology platform to help reduce engineering time. Network cybersecurity, the right control systems and access to data are also critical solution elements.
Data Critical for Emerging Industries and Applications
“The data piece is huge. Green hydrogen is relatively new so there’s not much run time and industry data like you have in oil and gas and petrochemicals,” Gordon explains. “Clients need the asset performance, OEE data, and carbon footprint information so scientists and research and development folks can see it, model it and optimize.”
Rockwell Automation technology has been key as Avid clients build and commission their first green hydrogen plants. Avid’s solution includes Rockwell Automation’s PlantPAx® Distributed Control System for a standard high-performance HMI and integration platform, and FactoryTalk® Historian for data collection, trending and dashboards.
“A lot of these plants are built in areas where there’s not a huge skilled workforce of chemical board operators,” Gordan says. “You have to provide data and diagnostic information that creates the best possible situational awareness for the operators.”
Providing remote access to that information, and remote support, is also a priority focus for Avid.
“Not every subject matter expert is going to be located in the plant,” Gordon says. “We need to provide secure remote access to subject matter experts so they can support plants regardless of where they are geographically located.”
A Bright Future
Avid’s excited about the growth of the green hydrogen economy, accelerated by production tax credits available as part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
“The passage of the IRA significantly lowers the cost of producing green hydrogen, so we see a bright future,” Gordon says. “Like any other project, there’s a lot of learning and we’re taking the lessons learned and applying those on N+1 projects.”