Delaware hydrogen hub wins $750M fed grant

by Danica Brendon

Delaware and several other states have been awarded a $750 million grant from the federal H2Hubs program to support research, production, and distribution of clean hydrogen gas. This investment, set to be announced by President Joe Biden, will significantly boost the mid-Atlantic region’s work on clean hydrogen, benefiting Delaware companies and sites. Bikram Roy Chowdhury, senior research scientist at Air Liquide’s Innovation Center in Delaware, spoke about the advancements being worked on by their scientists during a congressional visit in 2022.

Hydrogen is increasingly being seen as a carbon-free fuel source for the future, with the potential to power commercial vehicles, ships, and planes without harming the environment. However, for this to become a reality, hydrogen production through electrolysis would need to become more efficient, and a nationwide distribution network would need to be established. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has set a target of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per kilogram in a decade.

To advance toward this goal, the Biden administration has dedicated up to $7 billion toward the H2Hubs program. Delaware, along with southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, formed the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2) to receive and distribute funding. MACH2 was selected as one of just 33 out of 80 concept papers to submit a full application and receive funding.

This funding represents a significant investment into the mid-Atlantic region’s clean hydrogen industry, with an estimated $3.35 billion to be invested by partners. It is expected to create around 20,000 jobs and support the construction of numerous projects under MACH2, all of which will be constructed with project labor agreements.

Delaware has been actively building its case for landing this funding, hosting summits and launching initiatives focused on clean hydrogen. Companies like Air Liquide, PBF Energy, and Bloom Energy have been working on hydrogen production and storage, while others like W.L. Gore & Associates, Chemours, DuPont, and Versogen have been researching membranes integral to electrolysis. The Delaware City Refinery, owned by PBF Energy, will play a crucial role in MACH2’s plans, with the potential to produce over 137 megatons of clean hydrogen per day.

Air Liquide, based in Delaware, is also exploring the buildout of eight fueling stations along the Interstate 95 corridor to support hydrogen fuel adoption, similar to the infrastructure already established in California.

The funding awarded to Delaware and the MACH2 project marks a significant step forward in advancing clean hydrogen as a renewable energy source. It will not only create jobs and boost the economy but also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. With the support of the federal government and industry partners, Delaware is poised to become a leader in the clean hydrogen industry.

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