Biden-Harris administration to back US hydrogen industry with $750 million

As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $750 million for 52 projects across 24 states to support the hydrogen industry.

Courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

According to DOE, these projects, funded by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will help advance electrolysis technologies and improve manufacturing and recycling capabilities for clean hydrogen systems and components, directly supporting more than 1,500 new jobs.

The projects are expected to enable U.S. manufacturing capacity to produce 14 gigawatts of fuel cells per year, enough to power 15% of medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold each year, and 10 gigawatts of electrolyzers per year, enough to produce an additional 1.3 million tons of clean hydrogen per year, DOE said.

Furthermore, DOE emphasized that the projects will also support the long-term viability of DOE’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) and other emerging commercial-scale deployments by helping to solve the underlying technical barriers to cost reduction that can’t be overcome by scale alone.

“Reaching cost reduction goals will open new markets for clean hydrogen—creating more clean energy jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and harmful air pollution across multiple sectors of the economy, and strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness in the global clean energy market,” DOE claimed.

Together with the H2Hubs, tax incentives in the President’s Inflation Reduction Act, and ongoing research, development and demonstration in the DOE Hydrogen Program, these investments will help DOE achieve its Hydrogen Shot goal of reducing the cost of producing clean hydrogen to $1 per kilogram, DOE pointed out, adding that clean hydrogen is set to play a vital role in reducing emissions from the most energy-intensive and polluting sectors, including heavy-duty transportation and industrial and chemical processes like steelmaking and fertilizer production.

As per DOE, the projects selected for award negotiations will advance clean hydrogen technologies in the following areas:

  • low-cost, high-throughput electrolyzer manufacturing (8 projects, $316 million),
  • electrolyzer component and supply chain development (10 projects, $81 million),
  • advanced technology and component development (18 projects, $72 million),
  • advanced manufacturing of fuel cell assemblies and stacks (5 projects, $150 million),
  • fuel cell supply chain development (10 projects, $82 million), and
  • recovery and recycling consortium (1 project, $50 million).

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm stated: “The Biden-Harris Administration is propelling an American-led clean hydrogen economy that is delivering good-paying, high-quality jobs and accelerating a manufacturing renaissance in communities across America. The projects announced today—funded by the President’s Investing in America agenda—will supercharge our progress and ensure our leadership in clean hydrogen will be felt across the nation for generations to come.”

Commenting on the impact of the investment on the state of Michigan, U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell noted: “This investment will create hundreds of good-paying jobs, bring millions of dollars to our local economy and keep Michigan at the forefront of clean energy innovation and technology.”

“Green hydrogen is one of the most promising technologies in the transition to a clean energy future and will support the industries that have long been central to our state, from mobility to manufacturing. I’m proud to have Nel Hydrogen here in Plymouth Township and will continue to work to make sure Michigan leads the way in the fight against climate change and work to achieve a net-zero economy.”

To note, DOE and the state of Michigan awarded a collective $75 million in cash incentives and grants for Nel’s electrolyzer production facility in Michigan. Fully built out, the Michigan site is expected to have an annual nameplate production capacity of 4 GW, and according to Nel, in the planned new facility, the company will manufacture its next-generation electrolyzer technologies: the PEM stacks currently being developed together with General Motors and pressurized alkaline stacks.

It is important to mention that in the announcement, DOE stated that the selection for award negotiations is not a commitment by DOE to issue an award or provide funding. Before funding is issued, DOE and the applicants will undergo a negotiation process, and DOE said it may cancel negotiations and rescind the selection for any reason during that time.