The US aims to slash the cost of green hydrogen production by 80% in the next decade in the first of a series of ‘energy earthshots’ launched today by the secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm as part of an ambitious Department of Energy (DOE) scheme.

The hydrogen ‘shot’, the first significant move by the Biden Administration to accelerate the highly anticipated energy transition sector in the US, would target driving the cost of hydrogen down to $1/kg while at the same establishing a “framework and foundation for deployment” in the American Jobs Plan, including funding for demonstration projects.

“Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, but there are still many hurdles to deploying it at scale,” said Granholm.

“By achieving hydrogen shot’s cost reduction goal, we can unlock a five-fold increase in demand by increasing clean hydrogen production from pathways such as renewables, nuclear, and thermal conversion. This would create more clean energy jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and position America to compete in the clean energy market on a global scale.”

According to the International Energy Agency, grey, fossil-based hydrogen is currently available at $1-3/kg, while carbon capture to ‘turn’ it blue would add at least $0.50/kg, and green H2 from onshore wind and solar costs $2.50-6/kg.

“The hydrogen shot," Granholm said, "set[s] an ambitious yet achievable cost target to accelerate innovations and spur demand of clean hydrogen. Clean hydrogen is a game changer.”

“It will help decarbonise high-polluting heavy-duty and industrial sectors, while delivering good-paying clean energy jobs and realizing a net-zero economy by 2050,” she said.

The energy earthshots are designed to drive integrated programme development across DOE’s science and applied energy offices and its ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy) arm to address “tough technological challenges and cost hurdles, and rapidly advance solutions to help achieve our climate and economic competitiveness goals”.

“The energy earthshots are an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation, collaboration and acceleration of our clean energy economy by tackling the toughest remaining barriers to quickly deploy emerging clean energy technologies at scale,” said Granholm.

Today’s announcement follows Granholm’s commitment, made during President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, to help finance development of next-generation clean energy technologies.