The US Department of Energy (DOE) opened applications for a $7-billion program (DE-FOA-000279) to create regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) across the country. Projects funded under this funding opportunity are expected to include a Community Benefits Plan.
Matching the scale-up of clean hydrogen production to a growing regional demand is a key pathway to achieving large-scale, commercially viable hydrogen ecosystems. H2Hubs is intended to enable this pathway by demonstrating low-carbon intensity and economically viable hydrogen-based energy ecosystems that can replace existing carbon-intensive processes.
Each H2Hub will include multiple partners that will bring together diverse hydrogen technologies to produce and utilize large amounts of hydrogen in different ways. These clean hydrogen demonstrations will balance hydrogen supply and demand, connective infrastructure, and a plan for long-term financial viability. The H2Hubs will also include substantial engagement of local and regional stakeholders, as well as Tribes, to ensure that they generate local, regional, and national benefits.
DOE has defined a four-phase structure for the H2Hubs. Phase 1 will encompass initial planning and analysis activities to ensure that the overall H2Hub concept is technologically and financially viable, with input from relevant local stakeholders.
Phase 2 will finalize engineering designs and business development, site access, labor agreements, permitting, offtake agreements, and community engagement activities necessary to begin installation, integration, and construction activities in Phase 3.
Phase 4 will ramp-up the H2Hub to full operations including data collection to analyze the H2Hub’s operations, performance, and financial viability.
The FOA solicits plans for all four phases of proposed H2Hub activities; however, DOE will only initially authorize funding for Phase I. DOE’s review and evaluation of deliverables reflecting activities in each phase will inform Go/No-Go decisions that occur between or within Phases.
For this initial funding opportunity launch, DOE is aiming to select six to ten hubs for a combined total of up to $7 billion in federal funding. Concept papers are due by 7 November 2022, and full applications are due by 7 April 2023. Additional funding opportunities may follow to accelerate and expand the network of clean hydrogen projects.
As part of the Department’s commitment to accelerating the national deployment of clean hydrogen fuel, DOE also released a draft of the National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap for public feedback.
The Roadmap provides a comprehensive overview of the potential for hydrogen production, transport, storage, and use in the United States and outlines how clean hydrogen can contribute to national decarbonization and economic development goals. A final version of the strategy and roadmap will be released in the coming months and updated at least every three years.