February 29, 2024

The USA Department of Energy (DOE) released Monday the national roadmap for expanding the clean hydrogen industry, targeting to increase production to 10 million metric tons (MMT) annually by 2030.

To help the world’s biggest economy make its grid carbon dioxide-free by 2035, the National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap seeks to fasttrack the “the production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of clean hydrogen”, the DOE said in a press release Monday.

The roadmap is mandated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has set a 2022-26 funding of $8 billion for the establishment of so-called regional clean hydrogen hubs, or networks “of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity”, as stated in the legislation passed November 2021.

“This roadmap will align the private and public sectors on a shared path to drive faster toward a cleaner, more secure energy future”, Assistant to the President and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said in the announcement. 

By 2040 the roadmap eyes clean hydrogen production of 20 MMT yearly, and 50 MMT by 2050.

The latest government data, published October 1, 2019 by the DOE, put USA hydrogen output at 10 MMT a year. Global hydrogen production was 94 MMT in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency’s 2022 report for the hydrogen market.

Cost Reduction

A key component of the roadmap is the reduction of the cost of clean hydrogen, with a target of $1 per kilogram by 2030. The DOE under the roadmap supports different ways to produce clean hydrogen, which in its perspective include production through fossil fuels whose emissions are offset by carbon capture and storage (CCS), besides electrolysis and the use of biomass and waste feedstocks. The document outlines components of production through these means where costs could be lowered.

The roadmap acknowledges, “Cost reduction is not limited to hydrogen production alone”.

“Agencies will continue to strengthen their activities to reduce the cost of all key technologies across the value chain, including reducing supply chain vulnerabilities and boosting domestic manufacturing”, it says.

“The BIL [Bipartisan Infrastructure Law] electrolyzer and clean hydrogen manufacturing and recycling provisions ($1.5 billion over five years) will be used, along with annual appropriations, to address this strategy”, the document adds.

Makers of electrolyzers and other hydrogen technologies also qualify for grants for so-called qualifying advanced energy projects, which include facilities that recycle energy or offer services to lower planet-warming emissions. Out of $750 million spelled out in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for this funding for 2022-26, the treasury and the Internal Revenue Service expect to allot up to $4 billion in the first round, which is to be concluded March 2024, according to an IRS notice May 31.

Current Projects

Publicly announced projects to manufacture clean hydrogen in the USA as of 2022 totaled 12 MMT a year in potential capacity, the roadmap says.

The DOE announced 2022 $504.4 million in loan for what it calls the world’s biggest clean hydrogen storage facility. The Utah state project owned by Mitsubishi Power Americas Inc., Magnum Development and Haddington Ventures will power the 840-megawatt Intermountain Power Project, expected to start up 2025.

In Louisiana state Air Products and Chemicals Inc. is building an energy complex that can produce over 750 million standard cubic feet of blue hydrogen, or hydrogen produced using natural gas whose emissions are canceled by CCS. The company says the complex, projected to go onstream 2026, is the globe’s largest carbon capture plant for permanent sequestration.

“Several states and regions across the Nation are actively pursuing clean hydrogen projects, ranging from production through end-use”, the roadmap says. “The pace of new project announcements is accelerating”.

But many have yet to make final investment decisions, it notes.

“Securing long-term, credit-worthy offtake contracts will help ensure the significant pipeline of production announcements reaches final investment decision”, the document says.

To contact the author, email jov.onsat@rigzone.com

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