A teaming of states in New England and the northeast U.S. are requesting $1.25 billion in federal funds to help support creation of a regional hydrogen hub.
Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts formed a Northeast Regional clean Hydrogen Hub, similar to H2 gathering places in the Dakotas and west coast. The group’s submissions is seeking a $1.25 billion share of the $8 billion in federal hydrogen hub fund soon to be available via the U.S. Department of Energy.
Hydrogen is seen as a key baseload resource for the energy transition to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions. The gas does not contain carbon elements in its chain and thus does not emit CO2 when combusted.
Overall, the six states would pool about $3.6 billion in total investment to create more than 12 H2 projects across the region. Hydrogen is the lightest gas and highly combustible, so it presents infrastructure challenges over long distances compared to interstate pipeline transport of the more common methane natural gas.
“With this proposal, we have a unique opportunity to leverage substantial federal funding to begin building a market for clean hydrogen that will address some of our most difficult-to-decarbonize sectors,” Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey noted in a statement late last week. “The Northeast Hydrogen Hub will create opportunity, prioritize equity and enable significant progress toward our ambitious climate requirements.”
Most of these states have goals to reach Net Zero emissions goals by 2050 or even 2040. In addition to the hydrogen initiatives, they are pursuing projects in renewable energies, battery storage, microgrids, transportation electrification, building energy codes and efficiency, as well as carbon capture and storage.
Other proposed H2 infrastructure collaborations include the proposed Heartland Hub connecting North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Private industry sign-ons to the Heartland Hub include Bakken Energy and BNSF Railway.
Southern California energy entities and the city of Los Angeles also are working on a Hub for that region.
As for the Northeast Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub, which was first announced last year, the proposal for funding will reviewed by the U.S. DOE. Awards are expected to be announced this fall.
The collaboration includes the six states and about 40 industry partners. Hydrogen is abundant in the world, but not naturally mined or collected. It can be produced via steam reforming of methane gas, separating the four H2 atoms from the carbon in methane.
The least carbon intensive method, so-called green hydrogen, is created by electrolyzers splitting the H2 from water, but those electrolyzers must be powered by renewable or carbon-free electricity resources such as wind, solar, hydro power or nuclear.