Who’s “running for hydrogen” in America

In an effort to decarbonize the American economy, numerous states in the United States have formed partnerships with their neighbors or struck agreements with each other to develop “hydrogen hubs,” which are clusters of gas production, storage, and usage.

The data collected by the dedicated energy platform has analysts debating the appropriateness of these centers’ roles.

Consequently, the US Department of Energy is planning to distribute $7 billion under last year’s bipartisan infrastructure program, which may support around 10 regional clean hydrogen centers.

According to the Kansas Reflector, these nodes constitute “a network of clean hydrogen producers, prospective consumers of clean hydrogen, and neighboring infrastructure across the country.”

In a statement released last month, the ministry emphasized the importance of H2Hubs in facilitating the spread of sustainable energy investments, high-paying employment, and increased energy security across the country.

She went on to call this influx of federal cash one of the greatest in the Department of Energy’s history and said it will help achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

The Inflation Reduction Act, which can increase hydrogen production and its function, provided for a clean tax credit on hydrogen production and made major adjustments to the carbon sequestration tax credits, so this sum is in addition to those monies.

Justifications for hydrogen center construction among states

Prof. Brian Wilson, mechanical engineering, and executive director of Colorado State University’s Energy Institute noted that although some states would be motivated by climate goals, others will be motivated by economic growth and that hydrogen will create considerable new job possibilities.

According to a paper reviewed by the Specialized Energy Platform, he said that hydrogen is a key component in helping the United States of America meet its climate goals.

The Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub Project, spanning Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, is being spearheaded by Brian Wilson, director of the Rocky Mountain Alliance for Next Generation Electricity. This alliance is comprised of universities and national laboratories from these four Western states.

According to US Great Plains Institute senior director of carbon management policy Matt Fry, even traditionally conservative states are convinced of the necessity of carbon sequestration and tackling the glaring consequences of climate change.

The states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas; Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Wisconsin; Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York have all signed similar accords regarding hydrogen centers.

The states of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio have signed separate MOUs with the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin to “accelerate and improve” clean hydrogen production.

Furthermore, states like Pennsylvania and Georgia have made efforts to construct their own hydrogen centers, while states like Oregon and Washington are partnering to create a “Pacific Northwest Center” for hydrogen production.

Hydrogen, which does not produce carbon emissions during combustion, is often considered to be a promising solution for use in businesses that cannot use electricity.

Included in this category are the steel and cement industries as well as the maritime and aviation ones, as well as heavy road transport modes like railways.

As an added bonus, the fuel cells manufactured at the hydrogen centers could be used to power long-distance travel by heavy vehicles like tractors, which require more range than batteries can currently provide. Alternatively, hydrogen could be used to produce a fuel compatible with existing internal combustion engines.

Now, hydrogen and natural gas blend up to a particular percentage and can be used to fuel gas turbines and produce power.

At its McDonough-Atkinson natural gas power station near Atlanta, the United States’ Georgia Power stated in June that it has burned a 20% hydrogen mixture in a turbine, reducing CO2 emissions at the facility by 7%.

So-called “gray” hydrogen is now created in the United States by reforming methane vapor from natural gas.

Electrolysis utilizing renewable energy results in “green” hydrogen. Carbon dioxide is removed from “blue” hydrogen produced from fossil fuels and sequestered underground using carbon capture equipment.

Professor of mechanical engineering and head of Colorado State University’s Energy Institute Brian Wilson has stated that the United States produces very little “green” or “blue” hydrogen at the present time.

The Department of Energy’s “Hydrogen Shot” effort, which seeks to cut the cost of hydrogen produced from renewable energy from around $5 per kilogram to $1 per kilogram over the next decade, might help alter that.

He elaborated on how the rationale for hydrogen centers becomes quite attractive as the cost of both renewables and hydrogen continues to plummet.