Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Hydrogen Hubs in Development Around the Nation

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a seven billion dollar investment in the production of around six to 10 Hydrogen Hubs (H2hubs) across the US in an effort to meet the nation’s environmental goals. 

The Biden administration has an objective of net-zero carbon emissions in the year 2050 and to provide a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035. Hydrogen hubs can significantly reduce carbon emissions from carbon-intensive sectors by providing an alternative source of clean energy and an economic opportunity for clean energy businesses and initiatives. 

The DOE discussed the functioning of the hydrogen hubs in a press release. 

“Clean hydrogen hubs will create networks of hydrogen producers, consumers and local connective infrastructure to accelerate the use of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier that can deliver or store tremendous amounts of energy,” the DOE said. 

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe contributing an estimated 75% to its mass. Because of its vast abundance, there are multiple ways to produce hydrogen from various resources including natural gas, solar energy and wind energy, among others. It is an energy carrier that stores and delivers large amounts of energy that can later be used in fuel cells to generate heat, electricity or power. The emitted byproducts of hydrogen production are typically water vapor and warm air which are not harmful to the environment. 

These qualities make hydrogen a clean energy source that provides an alternative to fossil fuels that result in harmful emissions. While the end-use of hydrogen in a fuel cell is environmentally clean, certain production methods are more environmentally friendly than others. For example, “green hydrogen” refers to hydrogen produced by electrolysis powered by renewable energy, which is the cleanest form since it doesn’t involve the emission of greenhouse gasses or pollutants during production.

A hydrogen hub will be developed in the Pacific Northwest connecting Washington, Oregon and Montana to leverage the abundant clean power and energy initiatives that have been taking place in the area, according to The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is providing support to the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association through professionals such as engineers, scientists and analysts for the development of these hubs. 

Multiple nations and institutions globally are working toward reducing carbon emissions to mitigate the damage that fossil fuels have had on the planet, and developing these hubs provides a solution to this ongoing issue.

In the past year, Whitman has created a list of strategic priorities that serve as goals that the college would like to meet by 2028. One of these goals is environmental justice, sustainability and climate action. The development of the hydrogen hub can provide a source of clean energy that can be leveraged by the communities in the surrounding areas allowing them to also take advantage of the move towards more environmentally friendly sources of energy. 

In an emailed statement to The Wire, Daniel J. Gaspar, project manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, discussed the ways in which this hub can benefit surrounding communities. 

“The PNWH2 Hub has already conducted significant community engagement work to date, including initial community outreach, numerous letters, presentations and discussions with tribes in the region – but that’s just the beginning. The robust community benefits plan that has been developed will continue this critical work to have community input shape the hub and equitably distribute benefits,” the statement read.

“This is a vast project spanning three states and eight project sites that we call nodes. After negotiations are complete, we’ll have the ability to share more details about the proposed projects. In the meantime, I can tell you that these are the companies the Hub has been working with for proposed projects: Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy US LLC (Heavy-duty transportation, marine, aviation and transit agencies), ALA Renewable Energy LLC (Industrial (refineries), heavy-duty transportation, long-duration energy storage, transit agencies) and many more,” the statement read.

Jaclyn Perez, board liaison at the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association, discussed the broader implications of the renewable energy sector.  

“The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub – called the PNWH2 Hub – will create a robust network of clean, renewable hydrogen suppliers and end-users focused on some of the hardest-to-decarbonize sectors important to our region’s economy, such as hard-to-electrify heavy-duty transportation, port operations, agriculture and industrial operations. For example, end-use applications for hydrogen could be public transit, trucking fleets, ports, production of emissions-free fertilizer and energy storage for use when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining,” Perez said.

Hydrogen hubs are a critical advancement in the global switch to more environmentally friendly energy sources. These hubs streamline the supply chain and hasten the acceptance of hydrogen as a competitive fuel substitute by centralizing the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen. Hydrogen hubs support the global effort to move towards a more sustainable and decarbonized future as long as investments and technological developments in this area persist.

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