Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
New Mexico is now one in every of 4 western states that collectively have formally entered the race to obtain as much as $1.25 billion in federal funding to construct a regional “hydrogen hub.”
In February, New Mexico joined forces with Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to kind a joint initiative to collectively compete for a share of roughly $7 billion in funding contained in President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure invoice, the was accredited by Congress final yr to construct hydrogen hubs throughout the nation. And on Nov. 4, the 4 members of the brand new “Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub,” or WISHH, submitted a “concept paper” outlining their regional proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy, which is main the aggressive grant course of for award as much as 1 $.25 billion for every of six to 10 initiatives throughout the nation.
The submission of idea papers, due by November 7, to compete on this first spherical of funding, marks step one within the DOE’s choice course of. The present competitors is anticipated to peak in mid to late 2023 with federal help for the launch of no less than 4 hydrogen hubs.
The DOE now has till December to pick out essentially the most promising candidates to maneuver on to the subsequent section, stated Mark Roper, division head on the New Mexico Department of Economic Development.
“Before January, the federal government will allow a certain number of applicants to proceed with a full application,” Roper stated. “…We are optimistic about being included in this shortlist. We think we will be one of the down voted places.”
Should WISHH be requested to proceed, WISHH would submit an in depth proposal to the DOE by April 7 detailing all facets of the regional hub proposal, with grants prone to be accredited by Q3 2023, Roper stated.
The DOE formally opened the present competitors in September. It additionally revealed steerage on priorities it is going to purpose for when making use of for funding, comparable to: B. Technological range in hydrogen manufacturing. That contains funding no less than one hub that produces hydrogen from fossil fuels like pure gasoline, one other that depends on renewables like photo voltaic and wind, and a 3rd that focuses on nuclear energy.
In addition, the DOE would love initiatives to exhibit completely different end-uses for hard-to-decarbonize sectors, comparable to heavy industrial processes the place fossil fuels may be changed by hydrogen, or in long-distance transport with semitrailer vans, and on rails and ships. And it needs geographical range in manufacturing, storage and finish use.
Jobs, fairness and environmental justice – together with the inclusion of deprived and underserved areas – are additionally key targets.
The Biden administration views hydrogen as a clean-burning gas as a important part to the federal government’s aim of attaining a zero-carbon electrical energy grid by 2035 and net-zero mixture emissions by 2050, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm stated.
“This national hydrogen strategy will help us accelerate the development and deployment of technologies to realize the full potential of clean hydrogen energy for generations to come,” Granholm stated in a press release.
But the push to construct a hydrogen economic system is controversial, with many environmental teams against utilizing pure gasoline as a feedstock, which extracts hydrogen molecules from methane in a course of that causes important carbon emissions. To curb these emissions, the trade plans to make use of carbon seize and sequestration expertise to seize and bury CO2 underground — a course of that environmentalists say is commercially unproven and doubtful in its potential to considerably cut back, not to mention, CO2 emissions to eradicate.
Tom Singer of the Western Environmental Law Center stated it was fraught with “unacceptable risks”.
“We need to separate the ‘happy talk’ from the real benefits being sold to promote hydrogen,” Singer instructed the Journal.
The native environmental neighborhood is carefully following the WISHH and DOE funding course of. So far, nonetheless, little info is offered in regards to the regional initiative, with restricted neighborhood engagement, Singer stated. The new idea paper, for instance, isn’t but publicly out there.
“There was no community involvement,” Singer stated. “None of the groups I work with have heard from government agencies or WISHH contractors about the strategies or individual projects under consideration. We are all groping in the dark.”
dedication to the neighborhood
That may change quickly, stated Alex Greenberg, director of Economic Development’s science and expertise workplace.
First, EDD will quickly publish the WISHH idea paper after sure particulars comparable to firm names in initiatives are edited, adopted by public engagement.
“We’re going to meet with communities everywhere,” Greenberg instructed the Journal. “…We need to do more outreach to educate the public about opportunities in the hydrogen economy.”
WISHH lately employed Atkins, the worldwide design, engineering and mission administration consultancy, to supervise the regional course of, together with outreach and neighborhood engagement, Greenberg stated.
The idea paper itself solely names about half a dozen giant hydrogen initiatives, because the DOE restricted this preliminary proposal to twenty pages. But WISHH acquired greater than 100 responses to a “request for expression of interest” revealed final August.
“We will now reach out to all of these companies to develop a roadmap for future participation,” Greenberg stated.
People improvement can also be an vital a part of the WISHH technique outlined within the idea paper, Greenberg stated.
“We want to create career paths for people in the hydrogen economy to create safe, secure and reliable jobs,” he stated.