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Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas partner for regional hydrogen hub to compete for IIJA funding

The US states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas have entered into a bipartisan three-state partnership to establish a regional hub for development, production, and use of clean hydrogen as fuel and manufacturing feedstock.

In entering the agreement, the states intend to compete as a unit for funding established in the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021, in which the United States Department of Energy (DOE) is directed to seek out and select regional clean hydrogen hubs to fund.

The act specifies that such hubs should be selected by DOE based on mix of feedstock available to produce hydrogen, available users of hydrogen, geographic locations, and potential effects on employment, among other considerations.

The governor of each of the partner states appointed the following individuals from their respective state to serve as designee to the partnership: Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Secretary Thomas Harris; Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment Kenneth Wagner; and Arkansas Secretary of Energy & Environment Becky W. Keogh. The designees will serve as the primary authority and point of contact for coordinating governmental, research, and private sector efforts to promote hydrogen development and use.

These states are situated to demonstrate the entire value chain of hydrogen and are situated to tackle the hard-to-decarbonize sectors such as industrial, manufacturing, and transportation. The partnership builds upon existing advantages, such as an inland seaport system that runs from Oklahoma through Arkansas and down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, existing intermodal rail, existing pipeline infrastructure that runs from Oklahoma through Arkansas to the Gulf of Mexico, and some of the most valuable interstate freight highways in the United States. More importantly, hydrogen is already available for demonstration with new large clean hydrogen production hubs scheduled to come on line in the near future.

Hydrogen is presently used in many manufacturing processes and has increasingly gained interest as a clean-burning fuel source that could help reduce carbon emissions from manufacturing, heavy industry and long haul trucking. Currently, a great deal of hydrogen is produced in the partner states through separating methane into its components of hydrogen and carbon. While this process still produces waste carbon, the process can be made cleaner by capturing the waste carbon and injecting it into permanent underground storage zones. There has also been growing interest and investment in making the electrolysis of water to release hydrogen more commercially available.

The three states have been focused on hydrogen as an additional resource in their all-of-the-above approach to a diversified and clean energy portfolio. In late 2021, a hydrogen-from-natural-gas project with carbon capture and sequestration was announced in Louisiana and a large electrolytic production hub was announced in Oklahoma.

The agreement also includes provisions for:

  • Promoting investment in infrastructure for production and transportation of low-carbon hydrogen;

  • Prioritizing direct capture of carbon for all phases of hydrogen development; and

  • Working with industry, transportation networks and ports to connect major facilities with high carbon footprints to hydrogen infrastructure for fuel blending and reduction of CO2 emissions Working to support hydrogen production to support all phases of industry that can use hydrogen as a fuel source.

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