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The Contenders, Part 3 - LIGH2T Hydrogen Hub Seen as Platform for Industrial-Scale Decarbonization

There’s been a lot written about the federal government’s plan to provide billions of dollars in financial support to create a limited number of regional hydrogen hubs but not a lot of insight about how those hub proposals are being crafted to meet the Department of Energy’s (DOE) selection criteria. The details and strategies behind those plans have been hard to come by because few of the initial concept papers were made public while others remain a mystery, even months after the first informal winnowing of candidates. One exception is the Leading in Gulf Coast Hydrogen Transition (LIGH2T) hub proposal being prepared by a consortium that includes a large group of states, some key commercial partners, several universities and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). In today’s RBN blog, we look at what we know about the LIGH2T proposal, which will submit a full application by the April 7 deadline, and how it addresses three key factors likely to play a role in the selection process.

As we noted in Part 1 of this series, the U.S. has made clean hydrogen a priority, with the federal government’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) initiative intended to accelerate the process. The DOE opened up $7 billion in funding in September 2022 for the development of several hubs. Clean hydrogen can be produced in a few different ways. It can be made by running water through nuclear- or renewables-powered electrolyzers, yielding hydrogen and oxygen. Separately, low-carbon hydrogen can be produced by running natural gas through SMRs or ATRs — steam methane reformers and auto-thermal reformers, respectively — and capturing and sequestering most of the resulting carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting in low net lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A clean hydrogen hub, then, is “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity.”

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