The White House has announced that seven regional clean hydrogen hubs across the country will receive a total of $7bn of government funding, under a scheme set out in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to accelerate the production and usage of low-carbon H2.
Four of the seven hubs will include the production of blue hydrogen (made from natural gas with carbon capture and storage), five will produce green H2, and two will see pink hydrogen made from nuclear power (several projects have mixed production methods).
The following projects have been selected “for negotiation”:
- Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2); Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey) — (Amount: up to $750m).
This project aims to produce green and pink hydrogen via electrolysers, and seems to be led by the three state governments.
Like most of the selected projects, its final aims are vague, but it does have 15 “anchor partners”, including industrial gases giant Air Liquide, electrolyser and fuel-cell manufacturer Bloom Energy and power companies PSEG and Chesapeake Utilities.
- Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2); West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania) — (Amount: up to $925m).
This project will produce blue hydrogen derived from natural gas with the associated CO2 emissions captured and permanently stored. It includes hydrogen pipelines and multiple H2 refuelling stations.
It is being developed by a partnership between the West Virigina state government, fossil gas producer EQT, technology research non-profit Battelle, lllinois-based research and development company GTI Energy, and energy technology consultant Allegheny Science & Technology.
- California Hydrogen Hub (Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES); California) — (Amount: up to $1.2bn).
This project, led by the state of California, will produce green hydrogen from renewables and biomass that will be primarily used to decarbonise public transport, heavy-duty trucking and port operations.
There are 203 partners in the project, according to its official website, including Amazon, Bosch, Chevron, GE, General Motors, Hyundai, Microsoft, Michelin, industrial gases giants Air Liquide, Air Products and Linde, hydrogen truck makers Nikola Motors and Hyzon, electrolyser makers Bloom Energy, Plug Power, Thyssenkrupp Nucera, John Cockerill and Hysata, and fuel-cell airplane builders ZeroAvia and Universal Hydrogen.
- Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub; Texas) — (Amount: up to $1.2bn). This will project will produce both green and blue hydrogen.
HyVelocity describes itself as an “industry-led hydrogen hub” that includes seven core partners: oil majors ExxonMobil, Chevron, Orsted; industrial gases giant Air Liquide; power companies AES and Mitsubishi Power Americas; and power and gas networks company Sempra Infrastructure.
“HyVelocity will leverage the world's largest concentration of existing hydrogen production and end-use assets in Texas and Southwest Louisiana to deliver the benefits of clean hydrogen and good-paying jobs to local communities,” said the project’s administrator, GTI Energy.
- Heartland Hydrogen Hub (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota) — (Amount: up to $925m).
This is a blue hydrogen project that will utilise natural gas that would otherwise be flared.
The project partners are: Minneapolis-based power and gas utility Xcel Energy; oil refiner Marathon Petroleum; and Canadian energy infrastructure company TC Energy, in collaboration with the University of North Dakota.
- Midwest Hydrogen Hub (Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2); Illinois, Indiana, Michigan) — (Amount: up to $1bn).
This project will produce green, blue and pink hydrogen (ie, from nuclear energy).
There are 71 partners in the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, including BP and ExxonMobil, Air Liquide, steel giant ArcelorMittal, fertiliser maker Atlas Agro, Plug Power, Bloom Energy, Nikola Motors, GTI Energy, and Constellation Energy (the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the US).
- Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNW H2; Washington, Oregon, Montana) — (Amount: up to $1bn).
This is a green hydrogen scheme that includes proposed projkects from 17 companies, including Amazon, Air Liquide, Australian renewable H2 developer Fortescue, Mitsubishi Power Americas, Atlas Agro, and local utilities Puget Sound Energy and Portland General Electric, which source most of their power from hydroelectric dams.
Fortescue says that the hub includes its proposed facility in Centralia, Washington state, which will “produce green hydrogen at scale for use locally in the Pacific Northwest in heavy-duty transportation, grid reliability, maritime, industrial processes, and other hard-to-abate sectors”.
“There is no place better in the world to be investing in renewable and green energy projects right now than the United States,” said Andrew Forrest, the billionaire chairman of Fortescue. “Federal funding like this, alongside other incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act [ie, production tax credits], go a long way to helping reduce risk and accelerate the widespread production of green hydrogen.”
The White House says that the projects in the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs programme will produce more than three million tonnes of clean hydrogen annually — almost a third of the national goal of ten million tonnes a year by 2030.
About two thirds of the total investment “are associated with green (electrolysis based) production”, it adds.
The remaining $1bn of the $8bn set aside for the hydrogen hubs in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law “will be used for demand-side support for the hubs to drive innovative end-uses of clean hydrogen”, the government explains.
The hubs programme saw a total of 79 proposals lodging initial applications, which the Department of Energy (DOE) whittled down to 33 as part of its process of “encouraging” preferred schemes to make full application.
In the end, 22 proposals publicly announced that they were applying in full, but 15 of those are now unlikely to move forward without the generous subsidies.
“The seven selected regional clean hydrogen hubs will catalyze more than $40bn in private investment and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs — bringing the total public and private investment in hydrogen hubs to nearly $50bn,” said the White House.
“Clean hydrogen can reduce emissions in many sectors of the economy and is especially important for hard-to-decarbonize sectors and industrial processes, such as heavy-duty transportation and chemical, steel, and cement manufacturing.”
All the hydrogen produced in these projects will also be eligible for up to $3/kg of production tax credits.
The US has still not published its rules for clean hydrogen production, with the uncertainty likely to slow down development of the hydrogen hubs.
This article was published first by Hydrogen Insight