U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a substantial investment of up to $1 billion in the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNW H2). This initiative is part of a broader strategy by the DOE, which is allocating a total of $7 billion in federal funding to establish seven regional clean hydrogen hubs across the country.
The primary goal of these hubs is to expedite the commercial-scale deployment of clean hydrogen technology while driving down its cost. But what sets the PNW H2 apart is its unique reliance on hydropower.
Washington State Senator Mark Schoesler, who serves a district encompassing the four lower Snake River dams, emphasized the vital role of hydropower in securing this substantial DOE investment. In response to the recent funding announcement, Schoesler stated, “This would not happen without hydropower.” The reference to hydropower’s essential contribution is particularly relevant as the PNW H2’s clean hydrogen production relies exclusively on electrolysis, a process that consumes significant electrical power.
The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub encompasses the states of Washington, Oregon, and Montana. Its ambitious plan involves the establishment of eight hydrogen production sites across these states. This collaboration seeks to leverage hydropower’s inexpensive and reliable electric power supply, making it a sustainable choice for generating clean hydrogen. By using hydropower to generate the electricity required for electrolysis, the hub aims to drive down the costs associated with clean hydrogen production, making it more accessible and cost-effective.
The partnership behind the PNW H2 initiative is a powerful network that includes the Consortium for Hydrogen and Renewably Generated E-Fuels (CHARGE) Network, Renewable Hydrogen Alliance (RHA), Washington Green Hydrogen Alliance, Washington State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and several private corporations, utilities, and ports. Together, they aim to play a pivotal role in transitioning the United States towards a more sustainable energy landscape.
The PNW H2 is part of a broader strategy that revolves around a network of regional clean hydrogen hubs. Each hub will consist of components dedicated to clean hydrogen production, storage, delivery, and end-use applications. The collective goal of these hubs is to produce a staggering 3 million metric tons of clean hydrogen annually, a figure that approaches a third of the 2030 U.S. production target. This massive hydrogen production will significantly contribute to lowering emissions from industrial sectors, which currently account for 30% of the total carbon emissions in the United States.
The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub’s dedication to clean hydrogen production and its reliance on hydropower highlight the crucial role that various renewable energy sources play in advancing clean and sustainable energy solutions. This landmark initiative not only underscores the potential of hydropower but also demonstrates how regional cooperation can drive innovation in the clean energy sector, offering a glimpse into a cleaner, greener future for the United States.