The US government will spend $64m helping big names from industry and academia develop technologies to scale-up America’s hydrogen economy, said the Department of Energy.

Companies including 3M, Caterpillar and Cummins are among the sponsors of 18 projects granted support in the DoE’s H2@Scale programme, which aims to spur innovations in hydrogen production, storage and distribution.

The projects include a bid by 3M to develop advanced manufacturing equipment for “gigawatt-scale” proton exchange membrane electrolysis technology.

Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of California got $8m between them for projects related to ‘green steel’ production using hydrogen.

The DoE said the projects would help hydrogen “achieve its full potential” in the US economy, with other areas of focus including H2 applications at data centres and ports.

Scale is seen as a vital component in efforts to make green hydrogen produced using renewables competitive with existing fuel options, and non-renewable H2, as a key plank of the energy transition.

The latest US funding round follows a major strategy announcement by the EU earlier in July over the bloc’s support for hydrogen, which will prioritise green H2 but leave a significant role for the blue variety produced using abated fossil fuels.