Norwegian hydrogen company Nel Hydrogen has chosen Plymouth Charter Township, Michigan, as the location for its new automated gigafactory.
This cutting-edge facility will produce electrolyzer technology for green hydrogen production and is expected to generate 517 high-paying jobs while investing $400 million in the local community. The decision highlights Michigan’s leadership in advanced manufacturing and clean energy.
Hydrogen, as the most abundant and lightest element in the universe, holds immense potential as a clean energy source. Through a process called electrolysis, hydrogen can be produced from water using renewable energy. This green hydrogen can play a pivotal role in Michigan’s transition away from fossil fuels, contributing to a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy landscape.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a strong advocate for clean energy and job creation, expressed her enthusiasm for Nel Hydrogen’s investment. She stated that the economic mission to Norway earlier this year played a pivotal role in attracting Nel Hydrogen to Michigan. The company’s decision to choose Michigan over other states and nations was based on several key factors, including the state’s skilled workforce, strong network of universities, and its world-leading mobility industry.
The project is anticipated to receive support from the Michigan Business Development Program in the form of a $10 million grant. Additionally, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board approved a 15-year, 100-percent State Essential Services Assessment Exemption Request, valued at up to $6.25 million, to support the project financially.
The new manufacturing facility, spanning an impressive 507,000 square feet, will be dedicated to the production of Proton Exchange Membrane and Alkaline hydrogen electrolyzers. This facility is designed to be a full greenfield build, tailored specifically to Nel Hydrogen’s needs. The choice of Plymouth Charter Township aligns with the company’s strategic goals, offering access to a highly educated workforce, universities, research institutions, and proximity to collaborating partner General Motors.
Nel Hydrogen’s CEO, Håkon Volldal, emphasized the appeal of Plymouth Charter Township, citing the region’s advantages in terms of a skilled workforce, research institutions, and support from the Michigan government and authorities, which have provided an attractive financial package for the company.
Nel Hydrogen, with a history dating back to 1927, is a prominent player in the hydrogen technology sector. The company specializes in electrolyzer technology for the production of renewable hydrogen and hydrogen fueling equipment for road-going vehicles. Nel’s products are instrumental in enabling a green hydrogen economy, facilitating the decarbonization of various industries, including transportation, refining, steel, and ammonia.
While Nel Hydrogen’s parent company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, this marks the company’s first investment in Michigan. The decision aligns with Michigan’s commitment to advancing clean technology and clean energy solutions.
Michigan has been recognized as a leader in clean energy jobs in the Midwest. According to the Clean Jobs America report from Environmental Entrepreneurs, the state added over 5,400 workers in clean energy in 2022, bringing the total to nearly 124,000 individuals employed in clean energy and clean transportation careers.
A report jointly released by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the University of Michigan (U-M) last year emphasized the significant role hydrogen can play in Michigan’s clean-energy transition. The “Hydrogen Roadmap for the State of Michigan,” prepared by U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems, explores the potential of hydrogen across various aspects, from production to end-use applications.
In another major development, the MSF board approved support for Plastic Omnium New Energies, which plans to establish the country’s largest hydrogen storage manufacturing plant in Michigan, further solidifying the state’s position in clean hydrogen development.
Nel Hydrogen’s gigafactory is not just an investment in infrastructure; it’s an investment in Michigan’s future. It exemplifies the state’s commitment to advanced manufacturing, clean energy innovation, and job creation. The gigafactory is expected to bring over 500 new jobs to the community and will play a pivotal role in transforming vacant properties into engines of economic development.
This substantial investment reaffirms Michigan’s position as a leader in the clean energy revolution. It represents a collaborative effort among government, industry, and local communities to drive progress toward a sustainable future. As the world increasingly demands clean, sustainable energy solutions, Michigan is poised to meet these challenges head-on, fostering innovation, combating climate change, and creating a more sustainable future for all.