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Bill of the week: Gotta have more hydrogen

illustration of a hydrogen atom being cast in purple light from a red spotlight and a blue spotlight in each corner

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

🌎 Sens. Chris Coons and John Cornyn have reintroduced a suite of bills to support hydrogen financing and demonstration projects.

Why it matters: Hydrogen could be crucial to decarbonizing tough sectors like heavy industry and long-haul transportation, and it’s drawn significant bipartisan attention on the Hill in recent years.

Details: The “Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative” rolls together four separate pieces of legislation.

What they’re saying: "I am hopeful that they'll get a markup in two of the key committees to which they've been referred," Coons told Axios in the Senate basement Monday night.

  • “Hydrogen is a versatile energy source, but we lack the infrastructure to reap its benefits for a wide range of industries,” Cornyn said in a statement.

Quick take: It’s clear that an ideologically diverse set of lawmakers are interested in boosting hydrogen.

Yes, but: Hydrogen’s climate impact depends on how it’s made.

  • Currently, it’s largely produced using fossil fuels.
  • Climate hawks want to advance cleaner methods of production that either use electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen or capture the carbon released in production.
  • That low-carbon fuel could help the world replace fossil fuels in applications—such as container ships and tractor-trailer trucks—where electrification is challenging.

Of note: Congress has already pumped big money into hydrogen.

  • The infrastructure law funded an $8 billion hydrogen hub program to build out a domestic industry.
  • Lawmakers are jockeying to get their regions and states some of that money. A bipartisan group from the Southeast penned a letter last week lobbying DOE for a slice.
  • The IRA also included a new tax credit for clean hydrogen and a huge boost in the federal incentives for carbon capture.

Go deeper: Environmentalists and the energy industry are fighting over the implementation of that new tax credit—and how it deals with hydrogen’s carbon footprint. CNBC has more.

Go deeper