The Hydrogen Era
From：Taiwan Trade Center, Chicago
Seen as the fuel of the future by many, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) plans to invest $8 billion dollars into hydrogen fuel adoption using the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program. This program will choose 6-10 sites based on varying factors such as a site's ability to utilize renewable energy, the site's targeted industry, the geographic location of the site, and the scope of the site's goals. On average sites who applied to this program requested $1 billion dollars.
The DOE hopes to use these hydrogen hubs to target areas such as heavy-duty trucking, steel production, and power generation while also acknowledging that the department is intentionally targeting larger-scale projects that are capable of producing at least 100 million metric tons of hydrogen per year. The current hydrogen production capacity in the United States is 10 million metric tons, with only 1 million metric tons produced by renewable energy.
The global hydrogen market is currently worth $155.3 billion dollars, with Grand View Research estimating that the value could increase to $317 billion by 2030. The DOE expects its selected projects to take approximately 8-12 years to ramp up operations. Environmentalists worry that any environmental gains made by utilizing hydrogen in carbon-heavy industries can be negated by its production. To process by which hydrogen is produced, known as electrolysis, consumes large amounts of energy. While the DOE can accelerate adoption by allowing producers to use electricity from the current, fossil-fuel-dominated, electric grid, they state that it is not environmentally advisable.
There is much agreement that hydrogen should be used to power the United State’s long-haul trucking industry, as well as other industries in which the time required to recharge batteries is a detriment to its efficiency. Companies such as Honeywell, Hyundai, Toyota, and General Motors all aim to focus on hydrogen fuel-powered vehicles to replace their current offerings in the trucking industry. The DOE hopes to implement hydrogen fuel-powered vehicles in the trucking industry between 2027 and 2034.