Midwesterners Lament Lack of Transparency Over Proposed Hydrogen Hub

"Environmentalists and others want specifics on how such a hub would benefit historically polluted communities and help arrest climate change. The Department of Energy plans to help finance as many as 10 across the country."

"Midwesterners know Lake Michigan for its crystal-clear water, distinctive sand dunes and stunning views. But the lake has a legacy of pollution, too: Steel mills, oil refineries and other heavy industrial facilities dot its southwestern shoreline from Chicago through Indiana to the Michigan border.

Now, a burgeoning industry is hoping to accelerate the clean energy transition in the region with a clean hydrogen hub: a network of producers, consumers and transportation infrastructure intended to expand the use of hydrogen as a green fuel source in the United States. Unlike fossil fuels, hydrogen emits no heat-trapping carbon dioxide when burned.

A group of corporations and public agencies known as the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, or MachH2, aims to take advantage of new federal funding to build such a hub, which would be mainly focused in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan but extend to nearby states as well. In April, the alliance submitted an application to the Department of Energy in a bid to receive a chunk of the $7 billion apportioned by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to support the creation of six to 10 hydrogen hubs nationally.

MachH2 declines to disclose details of its proposal, including specifics on where the infrastructure would be located. But the proposed hub could include new hydrogen production facilities, infrastructure for transporting the fuel, underground wells for storing carbon dioxide emitted by hydrogen production, and renewable energy installations like solar arrays or wind farms. The federal Department of Energy is expected to announce the recipients by the end of the year."

Grace van Deelen reports for Inside Climate News September 19, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 09/22/2023