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Department of Energy awards $750 million to monumental project that could change the transportation industry: '[This] will be felt across the nation for generations to come'

"The projects … will supercharge our progress."

"The projects ... will supercharge our progress."

Photo Credit: iStock

Hydrogen has the potential to provide a pollution-free power source to United States residents and businesses if harnessed efficiently. The Department of Energy sees it as a viable option, allocating $750 million for hydrogen research and development.

The money has been set aside from within President Joe Biden's Investing in America agenda — one of the many environmentally focused policies the administration has introduced, alongside the Inflation Reduction Act — and portions of it will be utilized by 52 different hydrogen projects across six categories.

Electrolyzer manufacturing will receive the lion's share of the fund, with eight projects totaling $316 million. The other five categories are electrolyzer component and supply chain development, advanced technology and component development, advanced manufacturing of fuel cell assemblies and stacks, fuel cell supply chain development, and recovery and recycling consortium.

Electrolyzer technology uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, with the former a potential source to power a range of technologies, from ships to planes to industrial production. 

While hydrogen has the potential to significantly reduce energy-related pollution, more research is needed to produce hydrogen without requiring extensive energy from the grid, which is likely delivered via dirty fuel sources. What's more, hydrogen production efficiency needs to be improved to make the process worthwhile.

"The projects are expected to enable U.S. manufacturing capacity to produce 14 gigawatts of fuel cells per year, enough to power 15% of medium- and heavy-duty trucks sold each year, and 10 gigawatts of electrolyzers per year, enough to produce an additional 1.3 million tons of clean hydrogen per year," a DOE statement read.

With the Department of Energy seeking to produce around 11 million tons of hydrogen by 2030 and reduce the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per kilogram by 2031, this funding will help to achieve those ambitions.

"The projects announced today — funded by the President's Investing in America agenda — will supercharge our progress and ensure our leadership in clean hydrogen will be felt across the nation for generations to come," U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement

The transport and industry sectors are among the world's biggest polluters, producing planet-warming pollution that stays in the atmosphere and increases global temperatures. If even some of these technologies can be powered by a gas that only produces water as a by-product, then that will help to slow the rate of global heating — which puts humans in danger because of an increased risk of extreme weather events

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