Midwestern states form hydrogen hub

Seven states in the US Midwest are joining forces in the development of hydrogen as a clean-energy alternative, governors announced this week.

The move, called the Midwestern Hydrogen Coalition (MHC), follows the passing of the federal infrastructure law last year, which included some $8 billion in funding for the establishment of regional hydrogen hubs, supported by the US Department of Energy.

“The Midwest will continue leading the future of mobility and energy innovation and has enormous potential for transformative hydrogen investments,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.

The partnership includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

“We don’t have to choose between clean energy and clean air and creating good-paying jobs and a strong economy; we can do both,” Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers added.

Ground-breaking climate legislation that President Joe Biden signed last month also offers a tax credit intended to make clean hydrogen more competitive.

Those measures “made it almost certain that clean hydrogen development will become a major alternative for producing energy both in the Midwest and nationally,” said Zachary Kolodin, Michigan’s chief infrastructure officer.

The Midwest move follows others recently announced.

States in the Rocky Mountains and the Deep South announced regional associations earlier this year. Another hub has been proposed for the Los Angeles Basin in California.

The MHC hasn’t committed to joint pursuit of federal funding, although smaller groups of states or industries might seek grants.

Instead, the seven-state partnership will focus on boosting development, markets, supply chains and a work force for clean hydrogen, according to a joint statement.

It aims to take advantage of assets such as the region’s pipelines and tanks for distributing and storing ammonia, which consists largely of hydrogen and is a key ingredient in fertiliser.

Hydrogen “could help us end the use of fossil fuels, and it could be especially helpful for industry, which is the hardest to decarbonise,” said Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer with the Michigan Environmental Council. “But not all hydrogen is clean.”