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Rinnai – Global Future Energy Hierarchy



Rinnai’s Chris Goggin evaluates the work being completed that is enabling key players in the western and eastern hemispheres to position themselves in the new world energy hierarchy. Saudi Arabia, China and the USA are pursuing separate strategies that will allow for domestic decarbonisation and export dominance in their respective regions.

Global power players in finance and respective regional influence are busy positioning their countries in prominent profiles when considering future international energy market dominance. The three key countries are the USA, China and Saudi Arabia, which all exert military, financial and cultural influence over the western, eastern and Arab worlds.

All three are undertaking work that utilises three separate strategies focusing on the implementation of clean energy dispersal and defining global control over future energy markets.

The USA Production Dominance

USA energy supplies and production rate is the highest in the world. America produces the most oil and gas in the world but the requirement to progress away from high carbon fuels under President Biden’s administration America’s future energy policy is exploring several ways in which to introduce renewables and hydrogen into the domestic energy mix. The renewable deployment will focus on solar, wave and offshore and onshore wind projects.

A Japanese investment company, Itochu Corporation will invest in the 160MW Prairie Switch Wind Project in Texas, owned by American infrastructure investment company Fengate Asset Management. Commercial operations will commence towards the end of 2023. The onshore wind project will comprise 48 wind turbines that each generate 3.4MW of power.

Five renewable developers have been named as winners of an auction selling offshore wind space off the coast of California. RWE acquired 63,338 acres of seabed for $157.7 million. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners bought 69,031 acres for a price of $173.8 million. Equinor won 80,062 acres for $130 million. Central Californian Offshore Wind was allocated 80,418 acres after a bid of $150.3 million was accepted. And finally, Invenergy California Offshore acquired an 80,418 site for $150.3 million.

American industrial gas supplier Air Products and American utilities company AES Corporation will work together in investing $4 billion to construct and operate a green hydrogen production facility in Wilbarger County, Texas. Commercial operations will begin in 2027.

Saudi Arabia's Wealth

Saudi Arabia is the pre-eminent producer and supplier of fossil fuels and a major source of influence within the Arab world. Saudi Arabia is amongst the world’s leaders in oil production and holding natural gas reserves. The Saudi ruling class is a huge player in global energy and would very much like this to continue.

If energy were to be excluded from Saudi Arabia’s export capacity, current levels of considerable wealth will shrivel noticeably. The Saudis in essence must successfully introduce a separate decarbonising energy source that can be as financially lucrative. Saudi Arabia believe they have identified that energy source - hydrogen.

Acaw Power, a huge pan-national Saudi energy company will construct a $8 billion green hydrogen production facility alongside US company, Air Products, in Saudi Arabia’s $500 billion planned smart city Neom. Neom itself will accept only renewable energy and will be a hub of future energy dispersal.

Acwa has also announced intentions to replicate their Neom project with a further three facilities that will produce hydrogen. Details of where and cost are yet to be released.

Acwa is also developing a hydrogen production plant alongside Oman’s OQ energy inside Oman’s Salalah Free Zone to the cost of $7Billion and working with the South African financial institution, Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, in producing green hydrogen and other green fuels, in a deal that cost $10Billion. Acwa has also reached a further agreement with South Korean holding company, Posco Holdings, to develop and produce green hydrogen projects in South Korea.

Hydrogen Pioneering in China

China is also leaning towards future domestic hydrogen dispersal for several reasons. China is entirely reliant on foreign imports for supplies of energy. Without imports, China would not be able to function as a cohesive economy. As hydrogen can be manufactured without outside assistance the Chinese government is attracted to easily manufactured sustainable energy supplies.

Chinese state-owned oil and gas giant, Sinopec, is constructing a green hydrogen installation in the north-western region of Xianjiang. The facility is thought to cost around $470 million and will be in operation in June 2023.

There is, however, a fully operational green hydrogen facility already operational in the autonomous region of Ningxia, central China. A 200MW electrolyser is powered by solar energy and converted into green hydrogen for industrial purposes. The site is owned and managed by the Chinese company Ningxia Baofeng Energy group.

China’s steel-producing city, Tangshan – located in the east of Beijing, Hebei Province, will be converted into a huge hydrogen hub. Plans also include converting all residential cooking appliances to accepting hydrogen and introducing hydrogen-powered vehicles onto local roads. The total cost of remodelling the entire city’s energy provision to hydrogen will be around $746 million.

New Green Era for Superpower Economies

All three economies, Saudi Arabia, China and the USA are aiming to introduce alternative energies into domestic operations soon. Saudi Arabia will benefit from starting an international hydrogen economy as this is the most realistic chance of holding on to a prominent position within the international energy market.

China will benefit from being able to generate a source of sustainable power without importing whilst America holds twin ambitions of decarbonising national fuel supplies and remaining the world leader in energy production and exportation. All three countries are keen to switch fuels and have identified renewables and hydrogen as global future energies and as potential tradable commodities.

Whilst Saudi Arabia, China and the USA hope to maintain and build upon their respective present status, the amount of regional influence these countries hold could force similar and close proximity nations to adopt an identical methodology of energy cultivation and distribution by enforcing financial energy market pressures. The issue of future energy supply will affect the geopolitical manoeuvring of every nation and Saudi Arabia, China and the US will be the three main actors.

Rinnai's H3 Options                                         

Rinnai’s H3 range of decarbonising products includes hydrogen / BioLPG ready technology, hybrid systems, and a wide range of LOW GWP heat pumps and solar thermal. Also, within Rinnai’s H3 range is Infinity hydrogen blend ready and BioLPG ready continuous flow water heaters which are stacked with a multitude of features that ensure long life, robust & durable use, customer satisfaction and product efficiency.

Rinnai’s range of decarbonising products - H1/H2/H3 - consists of heat pumps, solar, hydrogen in any configuration, and hybrid formats for either residential or commercial applications. Rinnai’s H3 range of products offers contractors, consultants and end users a range of efficient, robust and affordable decarbonising appliances which create practical, economic and technically feasible solutions. The range covers all forms of fuels and appliances currently available - electric, gas, hydrogen, BioLPG, rDME solar thermal, low GWP heat pumps and electric water heaters.

Rinnai H1 continuous water heaters and boilers offer practical and economic decarbonization delivered through technological innovation in hydrogen and renewable liquid gas-ready technology.

Rinnai’s H1 option is centred on hydrogen, as it is anticipated that clean hydrogen fuels will become internationally energy market-relevant in the future; Rinnai water heaters are hydrogen 20% blends ready and include the world’s first 100% hydrogen-ready hot water heating technology.

Rinnai H2 – Decarbonization simplified with renewable gas-ready units, Solar Thermal and Heat Pump Hybrids.  Rinnai H2 is designed to introduce a practical and low-cost option which may suit specific sites and enable multiple decarbonisation pathways with the addition of high performance.

Rinnai H3 – Low-GWP heat pump technology made easy - Rinnai heat pumps are available for domestic and commercial usage with an extensive range of 4 - 115kW appliances.

Rinnai’s H3 heat pumps utilise R32 refrigerant and have favourable COP and SCOP.

Rinnai is a world-leading manufacturer of hot water heaters and produces over two million units a year, operating on each of the five continents. The brand has gained an established reputation for producing products that offer high performance, cost efficiency and extended working lives.

Rinnai’s commercial and domestic continuous-flow water heaters offer a limitless supply of instantaneous temperature-controlled hot water and all units are designed to align with present and future energy sources. Rinnai condensing water heaters accept either existing fuel or hydrogen gas blends. Rinnai units are also suited for off-grid customers who require LPG and BioLPG or rDME.

Rinnai products are i2HY20 certified, A-rated water efficiency, accessed through multiple fuel options and are available for purchase 24/7, 365 days a year. Any unit can be delivered to any UK site within 24 hours. Rinnai offer carbon and cost comparison services that will calculate financial and carbon savings made when investing in a Rinnai system. Rinnai also provide a system design service that will suggest an appropriate system for the property in question. Rinnai offer comprehensive training courses and technical support in all aspects of the water heating industry including detailed CPD’s. More information can be found on Rinnai’s website and its “Help Me Choose” webpage.