DOE solicits concept papers for the $7B H2Hubs

The Office of Clean Energy Demonstration (OCED), in coordination with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), and the DOE Hydrogen Program, released a Funding Opportunity Announcement. Through the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) Program, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $6-7 billion in grant funding to support the development of six to ten H2Hubs across the country. The deadlines for concept papers in response to the FOA are November 7, 2022, and April 7, 2023, for full applications.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2022, often known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), is what gave rise to the H2Hubs Program. A regional clean hydrogen hub is defined as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity” under Section 40314 of the BIL:

  • Demonstrably aid the achievement of the clean hydrogen production standard developed under section 822(a) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), as amended by Section 40315 of the BIL;
  • Demonstrate the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of clean hydrogen; and
  • Can be developed into a national clean hydrogen network to facilitate a clean hydrogen economy

The H2Hubs Program will, as mentioned, assist in the development of six to ten H2Hubs. Each H2Hub must be located in a “separate region of the United States” and must harness the plentiful energy resources in that area, according to the FOA. DOE will set aside $1-2 billion for “future H2Hub launches or other supporting activities undertaken through future FOAs or using Other Transaction Authorities,” in addition to and separate from the $6-7 billion allotted for the development of H2Hubs.

Eligible H2Hubs Program applicants include the following:

  • Domestic entities
    • Institutions of higher education;
    • For-profit entities;
    • Non-profit entities; and
    • State and local governmental entities, and Tribal nations
  • Foreign entities (in limited circumstances)
  • Incorporated consortia
  • Unincorporated consortia

Eligible applicants are required to provide a 50% cost share for an H2Hub’s total project costs.

H2Hubs Program Concept Papers will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • A clear description of the proposed scope of the integrated H2Hub including the key clean hydrogen production through end-use technologies and systems, the total cost of the project, and how the proposed H2Hub would ultimately facilitate a national clean hydrogen network in the U.S.
  • Identification of the preliminary project development plan and timeline, including a finance plan, any key risks, challenges, and possible mitigation strategies, and demonstration of the impact that DOE funding and the proposed project would have on developing a national clean hydrogen network and supporting decarbonization goals
  • Propose a team that has the qualifications, experience, capabilities, and other resources necessary to design, develop, build, and operate the proposed H2Hub
  • A description of strategies to ensure meaningful community and labor engagement; quality jobs and workforce development; EEJ and the Justice40 Initiative; and diversity, inclusion, and accessibility—including methods to ensure accountability
  • Address how the proposed work, if successfully accomplished, would meet the objectives as stated in the FOA, including achieving market liftoff and attracting follow-on investments from the private sector to build out a national clean hydrogen network

As noted, applicants must submit their Concept Papers by 5:00 pm ET on November 7, 2022. The Full Application deadline is April 7, 2023, with pre-selection interviews taking place in the summer of 2023 and award negotiations expected to commence in the winter of 2023.