The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act designated a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstration encouraged a Texas consortium leading the creation of a regional clean hydrogen hub on the American Gulf Coast to submit a full application in response.
Only 33 projects were “encouraged” to proceed out of the 79 applicants vying for a share of the $7 billion in federal cash available to create six to ten regional centers. With an emphasis on equity and environmental justice, the regional clean hydrogen hubs will build networks of hydrogen producers, distributors, and consumers while advancing infrastructure deployment and commercialization.
The Southern States Energy Board, the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and the University of Houston as the principal academic partner make up the Leading Gulf Coast Hydrogen Transition (LIGH2T) Hub. INEOS, Linde, MPLX, and 13 other companies are commercial partners.
To engage in this significant initiative, UH, a Tier One public research university, has assembled an academic collaboration comprising eight universities and five community colleges. Furthermore, a significant contributor to the hub will be UH Energy’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy (CCME), a multidisciplinary academic research center devoted to carbon management and the widespread commercial deployment of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), which is essential for the sustainability of the world’s energy supply.
According to UH Energy’s Hydrogen Program Officer Paul Doucette, “UH is the Energy University and it is committed to being part of the solution by sharing our research and knowledge in clean energy, carbon capture, hydrogen, and more.” To achieve this right, it was crucial to work together and assemble a wide range of perspectives and complementary skills in a number of crucial areas to create the best possible solution. This is crucial in areas like environmental justice and equity, stakeholder engagement, policy and regulation, workforce development, and skills training, according to Doucette.
One of the advantages of the LIGH2T Hub concept, he continued, is academic collaboration.
The goal, according to Doucette, is to create an ecosystem that offers the people it serves significant advantages rather than to produce one specific object. This will enable renewable energy while creating new jobs, increasing workforce and skill development possibilities, and significantly boosting local economies.
According to the SSEB consortium, the LIGH2T Hub concept builds on already-existing benefits and might serve as a model for the long-term expansion of clean hydrogen research and usage in the Gulf Coast region and the United States.
Ramanan Krishnamoorti, vice president of energy and innovation at UH, declared that Texas had all the necessary components to serve as the United States’ anchor for a globally leading low-carbon intensity hydrogen ecosystem. The vast industrial base at the Port of Houston and along the Texas Gulf Coast, which will be the first adopters for the use of the produced hydrogen, abundant natural gas supply, space for carbon storage, enormous capacity and production of renewable energy, abundant water supply, established pipeline network, and other benefits were listed by the speaker. The Houston region has a strong and talented labor force that is prepared to embrace the hydrogen economy, which is crucial.
Together, we are going to take advantage of everything Texas has to offer and keep erecting world-class structures, he declared.
To be eligible to participate in the next round of the DOE funding program, the LIGH2T Hub partners must submit the complete proposal by April 7.