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DOE advisers seek "low-emissions" bill to boost hydrogen industry

Apr 23, 2024
Illustration of hydrogen molecules surrounded by dollar elements and abstract shapes

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

A federal advisory panel backed by oil majors is urging Congress and the Biden administration to create a "low-carbon intensity" standard to build a thriving domestic hydrogen industry.

Why it matters: The recommendations tee up a policy debate for Democrats if they regain full control of Congress.

Driving the news: The National Petroleum Council, an advisory committee to the Energy Department, made its recommendation today in a study sent to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

  • The study says current policies, such as the IRA and the hydrogen hubs program, will significantly reduce the cost of making hydrogen — but are "insufficient" to drive down costs for some industrial work.

Zoom in: The study, which Axios reviewed in draft form before it was sent to DOE, was crafted by an assemblage of oil and gas majors — bp, Chevron, ExxonMobil and more — as well as environmental non-profits, academics and consultancies.

  • Granholm requested the study in 2021 to develop pathways to large-scale hydrogen production.
  • "With the policy that's in place today, the pathway we're on does not get us to the large-scale deployment of hydrogen," Austin Knight, vice president of hydrogen for Chevron's New Energies division, told Jael last week.

Reality check: A carbon price would also achieve this goal, too, and is "preferred," per the study, but the U.S. "may not be ready to activate this lever." (In other words, Congress won't go for it.)

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