The Department of Energy has opened the application process for its $7 billion program to create regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) across the United States. The DOE announced its intention to fund this program in June, the same day that Westinghouse Electric and Bloom Energy announced plans to develop the electrolysis technology that nuclear power plants can use to produce clean hydrogen from water. The DOE H2Hubs program is funded by the recently enacted Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and supports the H2@Scale Initiative to create networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local infrastructure. According to the DOE, at least one of the planned hydrogen hubs will use nuclear power to generate the hydrogen.
Funding opportunities: The H2Hubs program is being managed by the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, with help from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Applications for hydrogen hubs will be considered on the basis of potential employment opportunities for communities, as well as details of hydrogen feedstocks, end uses, and geographic diversity. According to the DOE’s funding opportunity announcement, each H2Hubs project should have a Community Benefits Plan explaining how the project will “support meaningful community and labor engagement [and] advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility,” as well as contribute to the administration’s goal of having “benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.”
Deadlines: The DOE is requiring concept papers for proposed H2Hubs to be submitted by November 7, 2022, with full applications due by April 7, 2023. The DOE expects to initially select six to 10 hubs. Additional funding opportunities may be made available in the future to expand hub networks.
Hydrogen roadmap: In a related development, the DOE has released a draft of its National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, which provides an overview of the technological, economic, and decarbonization potential of hydrogen production, transport, storage, and use in the United States. The department is requesting public feedback on this draft and expects to publish the final version within the coming months.