Hydrogen Hubs receiving $8B in federal funds better have their data ready

Hydrogen Hubs receiving $8B in federal funds better have their data ready

May 29, 2024 1 By Angie Bergenson

Lawmakers are demanding that the Department of Energy back emissions improvements claims.

The Department of Energy has been ordered by two House Democrats to provide hydrogen hub projected lifecycle emissions reports for seven of the projects receiving federal funds.

The lawmakers are seeking clarification regarding emissions

Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and Don Beyer (D-Virginia) signed a letter sent to the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) at the Department of Energy, requestion clarification regarding the emissions that would result from the $8 billion project funding hydrogen hubs, aiming to boost the production of H2 for uses in cleaner transportation, such as in trucking.

While it is possible for H2 to help avoid carbon emissions, depending on the way it is produced, it doesn’t necessarily mean that greenhouse gas emissions won’t result. This includes in the form of “grid emissions” when electricity is used to power some of the H2 production methods, pointed out the lawmakers in their letter.

hydrogen hubs and the letter to the DOE news

Hydrogen hubs can produce lifecycle missions that include CO2

In their letter to the DoE, they wrote that “Scientists have warned that high levels of lifecycle emissions from hydrogen production could entirely cancel out any climate benefits from replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen.” They also pointed out that as of yet, the DoE has only ever published projected greenhouse gas emission savings associated with the hydrogen hubs. That said, they have yet to publish data regarding the emissions associated with operating those facilities.hydrogen news ebook

So far, the federal government hasn’t made it easy for H2 to be considered clean enough to qualify for funding through Clean Hydrogen Production Credit tax credits.  In doing so, this eliminated worries that heavily polluting fuels like coal could be used to power H2 producing processes.

However, the rules haven’t been strict enough to stop natural gas (methane) and other fossil fuels from being considered, despite the pollution that they still emit.

Methods with the lowest levels of emissions include electrolysis powered by renewable energy such as solar and wind, and certain types of nuclear H2.

The seven hubs

There will be seven hydrogen hubs in the United States. They were first announced in 2021 but were finalized last year.  They are: Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Heartland, Gulf Coast, California, Appalachian and Mid-Atlantic.

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