In the News

Lawmakers Voice Support for Houston's Hydrogen Hub Bid as DOE Opens $8B Funding Opportunity

By: Chris Mathews

Several Houston-area lawmakers are onboard with the region's goal to develop a global clean hydrogen hub.

Local U.S. representatives from the Texas delegation, including Rep. Lizzie Fletcher and Rep. Dan Crenshaw, voiced bipartisan support for the Department of Energy to select Houston as a location for a hydrogen hub under a program created by the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"There is simply no better place in the United States to establish a large-scale hydrogen hub than Houston," the delegation wrote in a Sept. 27 letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. "The energy capital of the world, Houston has a unique concentration of industries, manufacturing and expertise that is unmatched."

The DOE aims to spend $8 billion to build out hubs for the nation's nascent clean hydrogen economy. Houston is one of the best-positioned cities to take advantage of the federal cash, experts say.

The Gulf Coast’s large hydrogen pipeline network makes up more than half of the country’s total hydrogen pipeline mileage and about one third of the world’s total count. Texas produces around one-third of the nation's hydrogen, the lawmakers said. Hydrogen is already being stored in geologic formations called salt caverns, and there’s room for more storage along the Gulf Coast.

The Lone Star State's access to plentiful renewable energy resources and natural gas gives Houston more ammunition in its bid to receive DOE funds for a hydrogen hub, according to a May report from the Center for Houston’s Future.

"A Houston hydrogen hub can produce hydrogen supplies while driving down production costs," the lawmakers wrote. "Fueled by abundant wind power and natural gas, Texas is poised to become a prime user of hydrogen, with strong potential for demand growth across sectors and energy."

The DOE issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement for the program — which opens the floodgates for applications — on Sept. 22. The Department will select six to 10 projects that fit that roadmap, but the DOE may issue a second launch to solicit additional "H2Hubs" beyond those selected in the initial launch.

The Center for Houston's Future is developing an application for the project, CEO Brett Perlman told the Houston Business Journal earlier this year. The University of Houston has been working with the nonprofit Southern States Energy Board and other organizations on an application. The deadline for concept papers is Nov. 7, and the DOE expects to notify successful applicants by fall 2023.

Read at Houston Business Journal