Planning Underway on Four Hydrogen Hubs for Renewable Energy Storage

by S. Tom Bond on September 12, 2022

The hydrogen storage challenges are substantial .....

Region’s bid for a ‘hydrogen hub’ relies on frack gas and capturing carbon dioxide

From an Explainer Article by Quinn Glabicki, Public Source, 8/8/22

Nature’s simplest element is at the center of a new energy strategy that has won the support of much of the Pittsburgh region’s leadership, while drawing scorn from sustainability advocates who say it would actually entrench the carbon economy.

As proponents tout the potential of so-called blue hydrogen to shepherd our region to a sustainable future, climate scientists and financial analysts question the viability — technologically, economically and ideologically — of developing a hydrogen hub reliant on natural gas and carbon capture in Western Pennsylvania.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed last November contained $8 billion appropriated for four “clean hydrogen hubs” nationwide. In May, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that his administration would pursue the federal funds for Pennsylvania, and the state’s bipartisan congressional delegation threw its weight behind the effort in June. Even before that, a group of local industrial titans including Shell, EQT and U.S. Steel issued a joint press release pledging support for the idea.

With the process still firmly in the beginning stages, questions remain about how a hydrogen hub would be implemented, who gets a say in that process and whether it advances climate goals.

PublicSource spoke with climate scientists, financial analysts, critics and industry stakeholders in an effort to better understand the status and viability of the proposed hydrogen hub. Here are some of the questions and emerging answers.

What does hydrogen have to do with energy? When hydrogen burns, it produces heat and the only byproduct is water. The most abundant element in the universe, however, is itself not a source of energy.

“Hydrogen is another form of energy storage, like batteries,” said Neil Donahue, a climate scientist and professor of chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University [CMU]. “Batteries are not a form of energy, nor is hydrogen.” The question, says Donahue: Where does the energy needed to produce hydrogen come from?

Renewables, fossil fuels and nuclear power are all potential energy sources for hydrogen production. Each occupies a corresponding space on a figurative color wheel often used in discussions of hydrogen power.

>> Green hydrogen is made using renewables like solar and wind energy through electrolysis to isolate the element.

>> Blue hydrogen is produced using natural gas, and the carbon emissions are captured and stored underground using carbon capture, utilization and sequestration technology.

>> When hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels but the carbon is released into the atmosphere, it’s known as gray hydrogen.

>> Nuclear power can also be used to create hydrogen in a process known as pink hydrogen.

>> Regardless of the energy input, the hydrogen produced is identical.

Experts say that hydrogen, when produced cleanly, has significant potential to reduce global carbon emissions, particularly among heavy industries like steel and concrete manufacturing, in large-scale transportation like trucking and aviation, and as a vehicle for energy storage in fuel cells. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s [IPCC] climate mitigation report released earlier this year listed hydrogen as a viable pathway to net-zero carbon emissions.

What is a hydrogen hub?

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law describes a regional clean hydrogen hub as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers and connective infrastructure located in close proximity.” The bill dictates that two of the four envisioned hubs are destined for areas “with the greatest natural gas resources.”

Because of abundant natural gas resources and infrastructure in Western Pennsylvania, southeastern Ohio and West Virginia, a hydrogen hub in this region would in all likelihood be blue — that is, it would source the energy needed to produce hydrogen from natural gas, at least to start.

….. see this extensive Article from the ‘Public Source’


Public Power Officials Play Key Roles With Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association

Douglas County PUD General Manager Gary Ivory and Tacoma Power Director Jackie Flowers are playing key roles with the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association (PNWH2), serving as the association’s secretary and treasurer, respectively.

PNWH2 recently completed its formation with election of Washington Commerce Director Lisa Brown as chair and Oregon Department of Energy Director Janine Benner as vice chair of the board.

The group is a non-profit, public-private partnership leading a regional effort to land a share of the U.S. Department of Energy’s $8 billion investment in a nationwide network of clean hydrogen hubs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Formed at the direction of the Washington State Legislature, PNWH2 is currently preparing a final call for projects for consideration in its proposal to DOE.

A final request for information for individual project proposals is opening in early September. The RFI will be posted on Washington’s Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS) portal. More Information is available on the PNWH2 website and by emailing


Build Back Better Lives Again, Now With Green Hydrogen

President Biden’s signature Build Back Better bill fell into the dustbin of history last summer, but apparently the US Department of Commerce did not get the memo. The agency has just put up $50 million for a green hydrogen hub in the New Orleans region under a new program called the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC). That’s going to be a tough row to hoe, considering the grip of fossil fuel stakeholders on the Pelican State. However, Build Back Better is all about transformation, right?

Follow The Money To Green Hydrogen ~ In an interesting twist, South Louisiana’s BBBRC grant dovetails with the U.S. Energy Department’s $8 billion plan to create a network of regional “Clean Hydrogen Hubs” throughout the US. The plan is funded through last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The new grant could give H2theFuture a leg up on the sustainable H2 competition. They’ll need all they help they can get. Also competing for a share of the $8 billion pot is a powerful alliance of six northeast coastal states that are primed and ready to tap into their offshore wind resources. That group initially launched with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. Maine and Rhode Island have also hopped on board.


Didado Electric to Partner with Newpoint Gas on Advanced Hydrogen Generation and Carbon Sequestration Project in Ohio

Didado Electric announced today that it has signed a teaming agreement with Newpoint Gas to serve as a design assist and installation partner and provide electrical and grid services work on the redevelopment of the former U.S. Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) into an advanced hydrogen generation, decarbonization and combustion clean energy manufacturing facility near Piketon, Ohio.

The centerpiece of the h2Trillium Energy and Manufacturing (h2TEAM) Complex, the $1.5 billion project will be an integrated energy system – closed loop manufacturing facility powered by clean hydrogen, with carbon sequestration. At peak, in the construction phase, it will provide approximately 2,900 jobs and, when finished, will produce clean silicon, ammonia, and power.


Governor Hochul Announces $16.6 Million in Awards for Five Long Duration Energy Storage Projects To Help Harness Renewable Energy and Provide Stored Energy to New York’s Electric Grid

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $16.6 million in awards for five long duration energy storage projects that will help harness renewable energy and provide stored energy to New York’s electric grid. Governor Hochul also announced an additional $17 million in competitive funding available for projects that advance development and demonstration of scalable innovative long duration energy storage technologies, including hydrogen. The projects will support the current Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to install 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030 while facilitating further development to 6,000 megawatts.

Governor Hochul made today’s announcement at the 2022 Advanced Energy Conference in New York City. These awards and new funding are being made available through the Renewable Optimization and Energy Storage Innovation Program administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The awards and funding will advance renewable energy integration and reduce harmful emissions from reliance on fossil fuels. The $16.6 million in awards will support the following projects:

>>> Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. – $2.7 million – To develop, design and construct two stand-alone energy storage systems and perform field demonstrations of a six-hour zinc hybrid cathode energy storage system in New York City to help demonstrate that zinc hybrid technology is economically competitive with lithium-ion.

>>> JC Solutions, LLC dba RCAM Technologies – $1.2 million – To develop a 3D concrete printed marine pumped hydroelectric storage system that integrates directly with offshore wind development in support of grid resiliency and reduced reliance on fossil fuel plants to meet periods of peak electric demand.

>>> Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, LLC- $12.5 million – To demonstrate nuclear-hydrogen fueled peak power generation paired with a long duration hydrogen energy storage unit to help reduce emissions from the New York Independent System Operator electric grid.

>>> Power to Hydrogen – $100,000 – To develop a Reversible Fuel Cell System for Hydrogen Production and Energy Storage called the Clean Energy Bridge and to help facilitate the system’s readiness for demonstration and commercial adoption.

>>> ROCCERA, LLC – $100,000 – To evaluate and demonstrate a novel commercially viable Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cell prototype for clean hydrogen production together with a corresponding scalable, more efficient manufacturing process.

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