The Biden Administration Is Pumping Billions Into Clean Hydrogen

The Biden administration announced plans on Friday to award up to $7 billion to construct regional hubs throughout the U.S. that support making and using hydrogen, in hopes of phasing out fossil fuels and slowing down climate change.

President Biden’s stated goal is to develop seven hubs throughout the country to produce cleaner hydrogen to create energy sources for the manufacturing sector, transportation, and generating power for homes and businesses.

Why throw so much money at hydrogen specifically? If it is produced without creating other fossil fuels, it is a cleaner form of fuel. When burned, hydrogen releases water, according to the Department of Energy. “Hydrogen is an energy carrier that can be used to store, move, and deliver energy produced from other sources,” the DOE explains.

According to the Biden administration, the hubs will “catalyze more than $40 billion in private investment” and will potentially create tens of thousands of well-paying jobs. Once they’re up and running, the hubs would be expected to produce over 3 million metric tons of clean hydrogen each year, while eliminating about 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. This is the equivalent of emissions from over 5 million fossil fuel-powered vehicles, according to the White House.

The administration suggested the following hydrogen hubs: a Mid-Atlantic hub, an Appalachian hub, a California hub, a Gulf Coast hub, a Heartland hub, a Pacific Northwest hub, and a Midwest hub.

Investing in clean energy is great, but how ‘clean’ hydrogen actually is as an energy source depends on how it is produced. And though the burning of hydrogen doesn’t create carbon dioxide emissions, producing hydrogen does come with emissions, Wired reported in 2022. Research released in 2021 found that blue hydrogen has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than natural gas. However, producing it can include repurposing fossil fuel infrastructure that already exists.

Want more climate and environment stories? Check out Earther’s guides to decarbonizing your home, divesting from fossil fuels, packing a disaster go bag, and overcoming climate dread. And don’t miss our coverage of the latest IEA report on clean energy, the future of carbon dioxide removal, and the invasive plants you should rip to shreds.

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