The city of Clarksville, a pioneer in municipal renewable energy in Arkansas, has signed an agreement with Syntex Industries LLC of Little Rock to design and construct a hydrogen energy power plant, the first in the state.
The plant will be built to generate more than 500 megawatts of emission-free electricity to support Clarksville’s economic development efforts by providing low-cost renewable power to energy-hungry businesses.
The city and Syntex expect to break ground on the project, called the Syntex Hydrogen Power Plant, by the end of this year. The state’s first “hydrogen hub” should generate more than 100 full-time jobs, according to a news release.
Limited power production will begin ramping up in 2025, officials said.
"Syntex has been working with Clarksville to develop methods to store excess renewable energy and regenerate it on demand,” Clarksville Mayor David Rieder said. “Recent technical developments and federal tax incentives have opened the door at last.” The project will provide an infrastructure to aid the area’s growing economy and “bring new high-paying ‘ecodustrial’ jobs,” Rieder said.
The mayor said Syntex has plans to develop a “Hydrogen Power Grid” to pursue “the promise of renewable hydrogen for clean energy and fuels of transportation.” He said the partnership with Syntex is committed to improving Clarksville’s quality of life.
Tom Waggoner, managing director and CEO of Syntex Industries, said in the news release that hydrogen "offers a practical pathway to reduce greenhouse gasses from power generation by storing energy from solar and wind when it would otherwise be unused.”
Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “The hydrogen reacts with oxygen across an electrochemical cell similar to that of a battery to produce electricity, water, and small amounts of heat,” the EIA website says.
“Syntex is committed to facilitating the decarbonization of the economy with major investments in renewable energy, sustainable fuels, and energy-efficient housing in modern sustainable communities,” Waggoner said.
"Clarksville is a progressive community that embraces green energy and related environmental initiatives, as evidenced by their high-speed fiber investment and being the first municipality in Arkansas to power all municipal functions on solar," Waggoner said. "It will be the catalyst for a major energy transition and economic transformation in this part of the state as well as the overall economy.”
Clarksville Connected Utilities, the city’s municipal power company, teamed up with Scenic Hill Solar of Little Rock to become Arkansas’ first 100% sun-powered city back in 2020.