Governors in Minnesota, other Midwestern states team up on clean-hydrogen development

Governors said on Monday that seven Midwestern states are joining forces to hasten the development of hydrogen as a clean energy substitute for vehicles and companies that mostly use fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

The collaboration comprises states whose economies are dominated by agricultural and heavy industry, such the production of steel and automobiles, like Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

According to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, “the Midwest will continue to lead the future of mobility and energy innovation and has immense opportunity for revolutionary hydrogen initiatives.”

Some automobiles, trucks, buses, and trains currently run on the colorless, odorless gas known as hydrogen. However, the scarcity of filling stations reduces their popularity. The fact that natural gas, which produces the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane, is the primary source of commercially generated hydrogen in the United States has some environmentalists on the fence.

However, hydrogen may be produced using electric currents generated by wind, solar, or other sources that emit little to no greenhouse gas emissions. When utilized in a fuel cell, such “clean hydrogen” produces just water as a byproduct.

Tony Evers, governor of Wisconsin, stated, “We don’t have to choose between clean energy and clean air and producing good-paying jobs and a thriving economy — we can do both.

The U.S. Department of Energy will get $8 billion from the federal infrastructure program passed last year to support regional “hubs” that would increase the production and transport of clean hydrogen.

President Joe Biden signed climate legislation this month that includes a tax credit aimed at increasing the affordability of renewable hydrogen.

According to Zachary Kolodin, Michigan’s chief infrastructure officer, these actions “made it nearly clear that clean hydrogen production will become a key option for providing energy both in the Midwest and nationwide.”

Earlier this year, states in the Deep South and the Rocky Mountains forged regional alliances. Another was suggested for the Californian Los Angeles Basin.

Although smaller organizations of states or companies may apply for funds, the Midwestern Hydrogen Coalition has not committed to working together to get government money.

According to a joint statement, the seven-state alliance would instead concentrate on fostering clean hydrogen technologies, markets, supply networks, and a labor force.

It will make use of resources like the area’s pipes and tanks for transporting and storing ammonia, which is a crucial component of fertilizer and is mostly composed of hydrogen.

Of industry being the toughest to decarbonize, hydrogen “may help us cease the use of fossil fuels,” according to Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer with the Michigan Environmental Council. However, not all hydrogen is pure.

Jameson advised the Midwest states not to use their coalition to “delay shifting our power systems to renewable energy and electrifying our buildings and vehicles,” but rather to concentrate on producing hydrogen from renewable sources. “We are in a position to achieve it right now. We have the momentum.”

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