Maritime ports and logistics facilities are cheering federal funding that is targeted to jump-start efforts to seed a robust green hydrogen market and assist in the pursuit of zero-emissions operations, facilities said this week.
The financing covers a $7 billion package from the U.S. Department of Energy that will launch seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) across the nation and accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost, clean hydrogen. According to the Biden Administration, that hydrogen is a valuable energy product that can be produced with zero or near-zero carbon emissions and is crucial to meeting the President’s climate and energy security goals.
At the nation’s largest seaport complex, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will receive a portion of the state’s grant funds to advance the use of hydrogen fuel in goods movement. These funds, which will be equally matched by the ports and their tenants, will involve deploying hydrogen fuel cell cargo-handling equipment and mobile hydrogen-fueling trucks or stations in the ports’ terminals. Subsequent phases will add additional cargo-handling equipment and support the statewide deployment of 5,000 hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty trucks.
Applause for the funding also came from Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., an Ohio producer of flat-rolled steel and a supplier of iron ore pellets to the auto industry. In that region, the funding will flow to the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2), which is expected to generate numerous sources of clean hydrogen production across the U.S. Midwest, including in Northwest Indiana near Cleveland-Cliffs’ two largest steel plants, Indiana Harbor and Burns Harbor.
“Today’s announcement marks the very beginning of a new era in steel producing,” Lourenco Goncalves, Cliffs’ chairman, president, and CEO, said in a release on Friday. “With Clean Hydrogen in our backyard, Cliffs’ hydrogen-ready blast furnaces and Direct Reduction plant will be first in the world to replace CO2 with a new byproduct that does not contribute to global warming: this new byproduct will be H20. Furthermore, Cliffs’ willingness and ability to offtake a significant portion of the entire production of the hub eliminates the chicken-and-egg dilemma associated with clean hydrogen development and, in doing so, makes hydrogen viable for other industries, including the automotive sector.”
The money comes as numerous logistics and transportation providers have sharpened their interest in hydrogen fuel cells in recent months as a way to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but have also pointed out shortcomings in the “midstream infrastructure” needed to store and transport hydrogen gas.
Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the new package will address those concerns by kickstarting a national network of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure while supporting the production, storage, delivery, and end-use of clean hydrogen, the White House said.
The seven sites receiving funding of roughly $1 billion apiece include: