US awards $7 billion for seven clean hydrogen hubs

U.S. President Biden and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm have announced seven regional clean hydrogen hubs that were selected to receive $7 billion in ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’ funding to accelerate the domestic market for low-cost, clean hydrogen.

The seven selected regional clean hydrogen hubs are estimated to catalyze more than $40 billion in private investment and create tens of thousands of jobs, bringing the total public and private investment in hydrogen hubs to nearly $50 billion.

According to the White House statement, roughly two-thirds of total project investments are associated with green (electrolysis-based) production, within the hubs, and several of the hubs were developed in close partnerships with unions, with three requiring project labor agreements (PLAs).

In addition to job creation and creating healthier air for communities, the hydrogen-selected hubs are committed to ‘Community Benefit Plans’ to ensure local priorities are at the forefront and all communities share in the benefits of the clean energy transition, the White House said.

Collectively, the hubs aim to produce more than three million metric tons of clean hydrogen per year, thereby achieving nearly one-third of the 2030 U.S. clean hydrogen production goal, the White House claimed, adding that together, the seven hubs will eliminate 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from end uses each year.

The hubs selected include:

  • Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2); Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey) – expected to help unlock hydrogen-driven decarbonization in the Mid-Atlantic while repurposing historic oil infrastructure and using existing rights-of-way. The White House said the project plans to develop renewable hydrogen production facilities from renewable and nuclear electricity using both established and innovative electrolyzer technologies.
  • Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2); West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania) – expected to leverage the region’s ample access to low-cost natural gas to produce low-cost clean hydrogen and permanently and safely store the associated carbon emissions. The strategic location of this hub and the development of hydrogen pipelines, multiple hydrogen fueling stations and permanent CO2 storage are also said to have the potential to drive down the cost of hydrogen distribution and storage.
  • California Hydrogen Hub (Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES); California) – expected to produce hydrogen exclusively from renewable energy and biomass. The White House noted that it will provide a blueprint for decarbonizing public transportation, heavy-duty trucking and port operations.
  • Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub; Texas) – expected to help kickstart the clean hydrogen economy with its plans for large-scale hydrogen production through both natural gas with carbon capture and renewables-powered electrolysis, leveraging the Gulf Coast region’s renewable energy and natural gas supply to drive down the cost of hydrogen.
  • Heartland Hydrogen Hub (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) – expected to help decarbonize the agricultural sector’s production of fertilizer, decrease the regional cost of clean hydrogen and advance the use of clean hydrogen in electric generation and for cold climate space heating.
  • Midwest Hydrogen Hub (Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2); Illinois, Indiana, Michigan) – expected to enable decarbonization through strategic hydrogen uses, including steel and glass production, power generation, refining, heavy-duty transportation and sustainable aviation fuel. This hub plans to produce hydrogen by leveraging energy sources, including renewable energy, natural gas and low-cost nuclear energy, the White House stated.
  • Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNW H2; Washington, Oregon, Montana) – expected to leverage the region’s renewable resources to produce clean hydrogen exclusively from renewable sources. Its anticipated widescale use of electrolyzers is said to play a key role in driving down electrolyzer costs, making the technology more accessible to other producers and reducing the cost of hydrogen production.

To note, clean hydrogen can reduce emissions in many sectors of the economy and is said to be especially important for hard-to-decarbonize sectors and industrial processes, such as heavy-duty transportation and chemical, steel and cement manufacturing.

President Biden’s ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’ includes $65 billion in clean energy investments at the Department of Energy (DOE), including $8 billion for a ‘Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Program’ to support the development of hubs for clean hydrogen production, delivery and end-use.

$7 billion of this program is going towards the development of the regional clean hydrogen hubs and up to $1 billion of the remaining funding will be used for demand-side support for the hubs to drive innovative end-uses of clean hydrogen.

The White House said the hubs are covered under the ‘Justice40 Initiative,’ which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

In addition to the hubs, the DOE has launched other clean hydrogen programs, including $1 billion for a ‘Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program: Electrolysis’ and $500 million for ‘Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling RD&D Activities.’