In November 2022, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—a rare and historic investment in U.S. infrastructure and a huge step forward in tackling the global climate crisis at foot. This monumental legislation apportions $65 billion to clean energy and grid improvements alone, but how much of that funding is going to hydrogen, and how will it be used?
Hydrogen technology is currently at the forefront of the movement toward a renewable energy future. More specifically, green hydrogen has enormous potential as a clean energy fuel source: it’s created using clean energy sources like solar and wind, and it doesn’t create any carbon emissions when burned. In fact, green hydrogen’s only byproduct is water. Another type, blue hydrogen, is fossil-fuel derived, but it uses carbon capture to filter out the CO2 before it releases into the atmosphere and stores it for other useful purposes.
Hydrogen is also proving to be very useful in the race to decarbonize traditionally “dirty” industries like shipping, aviation, steel production, and more. Many of these industries can be made cleaner with hydrogen fuel, and fuel cells can often power heavy vehicles better and longer than batteries.
Despite hydrogen’s potential, little up to this point has been invested in hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S. Although the technology exists, it’s not yet at commercial scale, nor is its cost competitive with fossil fuels. With the latest federal funding earmarked for improvements in energy infrastructure, however, there’s finally a budding future for clean hydrogen production to become large-scale, affordable, and sustainable.
Ten regional “H2Hubs”
Hydrogen production plants, or “hydrogen hubs,” are slated to start cropping up all around the country. Defined by the U.S. Department of Energy as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity,” these hubs account for $7 billion of the infrastructure bill’s budget and will be pursued by individual states. With enough funding for 10 regional hubs, the DOE is looking for applications from individual states that reflect geographical diversity and a mix of public and private stakeholders, with special consideration for the transportation sector and those that help balance energy supply and demand.
Dynapower’s technologies are already being deployed in this market, helping to power the production of and store green hydrogen at the Advanced Clean Energy Storage Hub— the world’s largest green hydrogen storage project. This hub has the potential to decarbonize the entire western U.S. and is paving the way for Dynapower products to be used to make large-scale green hydrogen production a reality. Read more.
Making hydrogen fuel cost-effective
Building off of previous legislation in President Biden’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act that gave out hydrogen production tax credits, the main goal of the H2Hub program is to make hydrogen fuel less costly and more widespread by helping to build networks of hydrogen producers and consumers. The Department of Energy hopes to increase clean hydrogen production from nearly zero today to 10 million metric tons a year by 2030, 20 MMT a year by 2040, and 50 MMT a year by 2050, and to reduce hydrogen costs by 80%, down to $1/kg.
By accelerating the use of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier, America’s goal to achieve a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050 can certainly be achieved.