Oct 13, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Biden admin unveils $7 billion plan for regional hydrogen "hubs"

Illustration of hydrogen molecules surrounded by dollar elements and abstract shapes

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

The Energy Department this morning unveiled plans to provide $7 billion to spur regional "hubs" for producing climate-friendly hydrogen.

Why it matters: It's the largest U.S. effort yet to spur production using renewables, nuclear energy, or carbon capture. But there's a long and uncertain road to the projects becoming reality.

  • Hydrogen could help decarbonize industries like heavy trucking, steel and power.

The big picture: Officials hope the initiative under the bipartisan infrastructure law will eventually spur over $40 billion in private investment.

  • The hubs — involving corporate giants, public agencies and others — are designed to "kickstart" a national network of producers, consumers, and "connective infrastructure."

State of play: DOE estimates the projects will together create tens of thousands of jobs and produce 3 million metric tons of hydrogen annually.

  • Use of this hydrogen could cut CO2 each year by "roughly equivalent to combined annual emissions of 5.5 million gasoline-powered cars," DOE said.

ğŸ—žï¸ Driving the news: Seven regional consortia selected for award negotiations include...

  • The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub that ties together efforts in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It aims to use the region's ample gas supplies to produce hydrogen while capturing process emissions.
  • The Midwest Hydrogen Hub, which aims to use renewable, natural gas, and nuclear, DOE said.
  • The California Hydrogen Hub, which envisions production using renewable inputs, with a focus on decarbonizing heavy trucking and port operations.

Yes, but: A lot needs to break right. It's a phased process, starting with design, then permitting and lining up financing, and finally building projects, officials said.

  • And the Treasury Department is still writing heavily lobbied rules of the road for Inflation Reduction Act tax subsidies.
  • Their structure will help determine how quickly — or not — the industry scales.

Go deeper: Project descriptions ... AP coverage

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