President Joe Biden is set to reveal the locations of seven regional hubs dedicated to the production of hydrogen, a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels. Hydrogen can be derived from renewable energy, nuclear power, or methane gas, which contributes to global warming. This announcement will take place at the Tioga Marine Terminal in the Port of Philadelphia, which will eventually source hydrogen from renewable energy and nuclear power as part of a new Mid-Atlantic hydrogen hub encompassing areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.
These seven regional hubs will receive funding from a $7 billion pool allocated in the bipartisan infrastructure law. In addition to the Mid-Atlantic hub, the new facilities include:
- An Appalachian hub spanning West Virginia, Southeastern Ohio, and Southwestern Pennsylvania, focusing on hydrogen production from the region’s methane gas.
- A California hub that will cover the entire state and include the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland.
- A Houston-based hub in Texas, with potential expansion into parts of Louisiana, sourcing hydrogen from methane gas and renewable energy.
- An Upper Midwest hub extending across Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, generating hydrogen from wind energy for use in agriculture and power.
- A Pacific Northwest hub encompassing parts of Eastern Washington and Oregon, along with parts of Montana, with a focus on hydrogen for freight and agriculture.
- A second Midwest hub spanning portions of Illinois, Indiana, and southwest Michigan, primarily deriving hydrogen from nuclear power.
The exact locations for these hubs in each region are still under consideration.
The Biden administration aims to cultivate a new industry within the United States, with senior officials estimating the potential to trigger approximately $50 billion in combined public and private investments and create tens of thousands of jobs.
The seven hubs are projected to collectively produce 3 million tons of hydrogen annually, contributing significantly to the Department of Energy’s goal of 10 million tons of hydrogen production by 2030.
Beyond economic benefits, the administration views hydrogen as a crucial element of its climate objectives. Hydrogen is anticipated to play a key role in cleaning up sectors such as heavy-duty trucking and industrial processes, which are traditionally reliant on fossil fuels.
The Environmental Protection Agency, under President Biden’s leadership, is incorporating hydrogen into its plans to reduce emissions from power plants, which are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
By utilizing methane gas to generate hydrogen, the hubs will incorporate carbon capture technology to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions.
However, specific estimates for methane emissions, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide in its initial two decades in the atmosphere, have not been provided by officials. The ultimate aim is to significantly reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to removing approximately 5.5 million gasoline-powered cars from the road annually.