More US funding for hydrogen hubs

19 October 2023

Above: Hydrogen hubs map

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $7bn to launch seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) across the US and accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost, clean hydrogen. DOE said the seven H2Hubs funded by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will kickstart a national network of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure while supporting the production, storage, delivery, and end-use of clean hydrogen.

The H2Hubs are expected to collectively produce 3m tonnes of hydrogen a year, reaching nearly a third of the 2030 US production target and lowering emissions from hard-to-decarbonise industrial sectors that represent 30% of total US carbon emissions. This federal investment will be matched by recipients to leverage a total of nearly $50bn to strengthen local economies, create and maintain high-quality jobs. US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M Granholm said: “With this historic investment, the Biden-Harris Administration is laying the foundation for a new, American-led industry that will propel the global clean energy transition while creating high quality jobs and delivering healthier communities in every pocket of the nation.”

Selected projects for negotiation include:

  • Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2); West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania. The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub is anticipated to bring job opportunities to workers in coal communities and create more than 21,000 direct jobs. (Amount: up to $925m).
  • California Hydrogen Hub (Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES); California). This H2Hub has committed to requiring Project Labor Agreements for all projects connected to the hub, which will expand opportunities for disadvantaged communities and create an expected 220,000 direct jobs. (Amount: up to $1.2bn).
  • Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (HyVelocity H2Hub; Texas). This H2Hub is expected to create approximately 45,000 direct jobss. (Amount: up to $1.2bn).
  • Heartland Hydrogen Hub (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota). This anticipates creating upwards of 3,880 direct jobs. (Amount: up to $925m).
  • Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2); Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey). It plans to develop renewable hydrogen production facilities from renewable and nuclear electricity using both established and innovative electrolyzer technologies. This H2Hub anticipates creating 20,800 direct jobs. (Amount: up to $750m).
  • Midwest Hydrogen Hub (Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2); Illinois, Indiana, Michigan). This H2Hub plans to produce hydrogen by leveraging diverse and abundant energy sources, including renewable energy, natural gas, and low-cost nuclear energy. The Midwest Hydrogen Hub anticipates creating 13,600 direct jobs. (Amount: up to $1bn).
  • Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNW H2; Washington, Oregon, Montana). This plans to leverage the region’s abundant renewable resources to produce clean hydrogen exclusively via electrolysis. This H2Hub is expected to create more than 10,000 direct jobs. (Amount: up to $1bn).

DOE’s investment will be met with the H2Hubs selectees’ cost share of more than $40bn. Together with tax incentives in the President’s historic Inflation Reduction Act and ongoing research and development efforts across the Federal government, today’s announcement will help drive private sector investment in clean hydrogen, setting the nation on a course to hit critical long-term decarbonization objectives.

US energy company Constellation is a major participant in the MachH2 hydrogen hub. Constellation said it will use a portion of the hub funding to build the world’s largest nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility at its LaSalle Clean Energy Centre in Illinois. The project plans to produce an estimated 33,450 tonnes of clean hydrogen each year and create thousands of good-paying jobs. Constellation estimates its LaSalle clean hydrogen facility will cost about $900m, with a portion of the MachH2 award offsetting the project’s cost.

The Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2) comprises more than 70 public and private entities representing every phase in the hydrogen value chain. “We are delighted to be part of this incredibly important hub in the nation's heartland,” said Joe Dominguez, President & CEO of Constellation. He added that the award “is proof positive that DOE and the administration want existing nuclear energy to play a vital role in jumpstarting domestic hydrogen production and we look forward to final Treasury Department guidance”. Constellation Energy earlier this year began operating a 1 MW demonstration scale, nuclear-powered clean hydrogen production facility at the Nine Mile Point NPP in New York

Xcel Energy, which is part of the Heartland Hydrogen Hub, said it expects to receive a large portion of the federal award. The company proposed investing up to $2bn over a decade for clean hydrogen-producing equipment and infrastructure and plans to use its existing and future nuclear, solar and wind resources in the Upper Midwest to produce hydrogen to blend into power generation, existing natural gas distribution systems, and agricultural and industrial applications. Xcel owns and operates two NPPs in the region, including a single boiling water reactor at Monticello and two pressurised water reactors at Prairie Island.

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