Three companies that are already part of an alliance to help attract a hydrogen hub to the tri-state region recently announced that they will collaborate on an application for part of the $8 billion in U.S. Department of Energy funding. U.S. Steel, Shell U.S. Gas and Power, and Equinor U.S. Holdings, announced a non-exclusive cooperation agreement to “advance collaborative clean energy hub in the Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania region,” according to a press release. “The hub will focus on decarbonization opportunities that feature carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) as well as hydrogen production and utilization.” The development of a hub and the associated infrastructure would generate jobs and economic growth in the region, as well as achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions. The federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act passed last year provides investments in clean energy technologies, including the money for the development of at least four hydrogen hubs around the country. Hydrogen, which emits only water vapor when burned as fuel, could be a way to decarbonize hard-to-electrify industries, like steel- and cement-making, and long-distance transportation through fuel cells. Developing hydrogen technology, and coupling that with carbon capture and sequestration could be feasible in this region. The hubs will focus on different technologies. At least one hub would demonstrate the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels, one from renewable energy, and one from nuclear energy. Efforts in the Appalachian region have been centered around production of so-called “blue hydrogen,” which produces hydrogen from the area’s abundant natural gas source using a process called steam reformation combined with carbon capture. Carbon capture involves removing the CO2 from emissions, then sequestering it in underground rock formations. This region has the geological features that could make CCUS feasible if the technology can be ramped up. The funding opportunity announcement, initially requesting concept papers, is expected to be issued by the DOE this fall. Several other groups in the region are also working to attract a hub, including Team Pennsylvania and a group backed by West Virginia’s governor. Shell, Equinor, and U.S. Steel are part of the Appalachian Energy Future initiative, a public-private partnership focused on developing a clean hydrogen industrial hub. The development of a hydrogen hub in this region will be explored in a day-long symposium Oct. 4 on the Washington & Jefferson College campus that is being presented by the Center for Energy Policy. For more information or to register, click here.
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