Country: United States
Document type: Strategy and Roadmap
Released: June 2023
U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap
In June 2023, the U.S. DOE released the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap (following release of a draft for consultation in September 2022). The strategy and roadmap notes that, based on longer term demand scenarios, there are strategic opportunities for 10 million metric tonnes (MMT) of clean hydrogen annually by 2030, 20 MMT annually by 2040, and 50 MMT annually by 2050.
The strategy and roadmap are based on prioritising three key strategies:
- Target strategic, high-impact uses for clean hydrogen – targets applications where limited deep decarbonisation alternatives exist; specific markets include the industrial sector (e.g., chemicals, steel and refining), heavy-duty transportation, and long-duration energy storage to enable a clean grid. Long-term opportunities include the potential for exporting clean hydrogen or hydrogen carriers.
- Reduce the cost of clean hydrogen – focus is on the Hydrogen Energy Earthshot (Hydrogen Shot) launched in 2021 which is intended to spur both innovation and scale. Efforts will also address material and supply chain vulnerabilities and design for efficiency, durability, and recyclability.
- Focus on regional networks – investing in and scaling regional clean hydrogen hubs would enable large-scale clean hydrogen production close to high priority hydrogen users, allowing the sharing of a critical mass of infrastructure. Also, these investments would drive scale in production, distribution, and storage to facilitate market liftoff.
Actions and Milestones are outlined across the near-term through 2025, mid-term to 2029, and longer term to 2035. The strategy and roadmap notes that several of these actions are already in progress and would be supported by existing and recently announced public funding opportunities (see remainder of this page).
The strategy and roadmap envision three application adoption phases or ‘waves’ for clean hydrogen use in the United States:
- First wave – Applications would be jumpstarted by existing markets that have few alternatives to clean hydrogen for decarbonisation and where there is access to hydrogen and compatible end uses. This includes existing refining and ammonia production plants, as well as long-haul, heavy-duty trucking.
- Second wave – Applications include use cases where clean hydrogen offers a growing economic value proposition, supported by industry and policy momentum and includes a broader range of transportation use cases and widens to include greater use of industrial fuel and feedstock (examples include steel production, aviation, and energy storage and power generation).
- Third wave – Applications include those that become competitive as clean hydrogen production scales significantly and as costs decline and infrastructure becomes available; examples include cement, methanol, back-up power and stationary power.
Funding Opportunities (selected programs; not exhaustive)
- In December 2020, the US DOE announced US$33 million in funding to support innovative hydrogen and fuel cell R&D, infrastructure supply chain development and validation, and cost analysis activities. Activities that result from this funding opportunity announcement will support EERE’s H2@Scale Vision. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office launched the H2@Scale initiative in 2016 to explore the use of hydrogen energy across sectors.
- In October 2021, the US DOE announced funding for projects that complement H2@Scale efforts and support the Hydrogen Shot goal (see below):
- Nearly US$8 million for nine projects, or cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs), to support the integration of hydrogen technologies in future energy systems, including energy storage and a specific focus on safety and risk mitigation.
- US$20 million in funding to demonstrate technology to produce clean hydrogen from nuclear power. The project will produce clean hydrogen from nuclear power at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in Phoenix, Arizona. Six tonnes of stored hydrogen will be used to produce approximately 200 MWh electricity during times of high demand, and may be also used to make chemicals and other fuels.
- In November 2021, the US DOE announced USD$199 million to fund 25 RD&D projects to advance electrification of freight trucks, reduce vehicle emissions and improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including:
- A combined USD$127 million under the SuperTruck 3 Funding Opportunity Selections to fund five heavy vehicle manufacturers to pioneer electrified medium-and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts to achieve higher efficiency and zero emissions; these awards including amounts to develop hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks
- A combined USD$71 million under the Low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) funding Opportunity to fund 20 RD&D with industry, academia, and non-profits, including Clean Cities Coalitions, for the creation of solutions to reducing emissions for on- and off-road vehicles and accelerating the expansion of EV infrastructure and charging.
- In March 2022, the US DOE announced US$2.4 million in funding for three projects to advance novel thermal and hydrogen energy storage technologies toward increased duration, reliability and affordability.
- In May 2022, the U.S. DOE announced US$24.9 million in funding for six R&D projects where the DOE will partner with private companies to support the advancement of clean hydrogen for electricity generation, including through improving capture of CO2 associated with hydrogen production from carbon-based resources and technologies to more efficiently use hydrogen in gas turbines for electricity generation.
- In June 2022, the US DOE announced it had closed on a US$504.4 million loan guarantee to the Advanced Clean Energy Storage project in Utah. The loan guarantee will help finance construction of the facility in Delta, Utah, which will combine 220 MW of (alkaline) electrolysis with two 4.5 million barrel salt caverns to store clean hydrogen – to be deployed as fuel for the Intermountain Power Agency’s (IPA) IPP Renewed Project — a hydrogen-capable gas turbine combined cycle power plant that intends to incrementally be fuelled by 100% clean hydrogen by 2045.
- In August 2022, the US DOE announced the award of US$28.9 million to 15 industry and university-led projects which address the following topics:
- Production of low-cost, carbon-neutral hydrogen from sustainable biomass feedstocks.
- Production of clean hydrogen from blended feedstocks that include biomass, waste coal, waste plastics, and municipal solid wastes, with carbon capture.
- Front-end engineering design studies to design and implement carbon capture systems that enable the production of clean hydrogen from natural gas.
- In August 2022, the US DOE announced a US$32 million funding opportunity for R&D projects that targets four areas of interest: natural gas to hydrogen; biomass, municipal solid wastes, coal wastes, and waste plastics to hydrogen; leak detection in hydrogen infrastructure; and safe, long-term subsurface hydrogen storage.
- In September 2022, the US DOE announced almost US$4.7 million funding award for six projects to advance the development of ceramic-based materials to improve the efficiency of hydrogen-fuelled turbines.
- In February 2023, the US DOE announced the award of US$7.4 million to seven projects to develop medium-and heavy-duty electric vehicle (EV) charging and hydrogen corridor infrastructure plans that covers 23 states.
- In May 2023, the US DOE announced the award of US$22.1 million to 10 industry-led projects designed to advance nuclear technologies, including two projects to support clean hydrogen production using nuclear reactors and demonstrate nuclear energy applications beyond electricity.
- In June 2023, the US DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to US$35 million in funding to support a new program to enable zero-process-emission ironmaking and ultra-low life cycle emissions steelmaking. Steelmaking is identified as an emerging high-priority application for clean hydrogen in the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap.
- In July 2023, ARPA-E announced a US$20 million Funding Opportunity to develop technologies that can stimulate the generation of hydrogen within the subsurface (application deadline 24 October 2023).
American Jobs Plan
The American Jobs Plan announced by President Biden at the end of March 2021 included, amongst other things, a range of infrastructure development initiatives: by way of example, one such initiative included the pairing of investment in 15 decarbonised hydrogen demonstration projects in distressed communities with a new production tax credit to spurt capital-project retrofits and new installations.
Complementary to this particular proposed initiative, the Plan proposed the investment of US$15 billion in demonstration projects for climate R&D priorities, including utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing, and electric vehicles.
US DOE Energy Earthshots Initiative – Hydrogen Shot
In June 2021, the US DOE launched its Energy Earthshots Initiative, to accelerate breakthroughs in clean energy solutions within the decade. The first Energy Earthshot—Hydrogen Shot—seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to US$1 per kilogram in one decade. The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Topics in the Request for Information (RFI) included:
- Hydrogen Production, Resources, and Infrastructure
- End Users for Hydrogen Based on Specific Regions, Cost, and Value Propositions
- Greenhouse Gas and Other Pollutant Emissions Reduction Potential
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI), Jobs, and Environmental Justice
- Science and Innovation Needs and Challenges
In July 2021, the US DOE announced US$52.5 million to fund 31 projects to advance next-generation clean hydrogen technologies and support its Hydrogen Shot Initiative. The 31 projects will focus on bridging technical gaps in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilisation technologies, including fuel cells.
In January 2023, the U.S. DOE announced US$200 million for Energy Earthshot Research Centers (EERCs) – with six Earthshots, including Hydrogen Shot, announced as of January 2023. Total combined planned funding is up to US$200 million over four years, with US$50 million in Fiscal Year 2023 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations.
In May 2023, the US DOE announced the award nearly US$42 million in funding for 22 projects to advance critical technologies for producing, storing, and deploying clean hydrogen in support of the Hydrogen Shot initiative.
In August 2023, the US DOE announced the award of nearly US$34 million to 19 industry-and-university-led research projects intended to, amongst other things, advance fossil-and biomass-based clean hydrogen.
In September 2023, the US DOE announced the award of nearly US$48 million in funding 16 RD&D projects that aim to lower technology costs, enhance hydrogen infrastructure and improve the performance of hydrogen fuel cells.
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
The main features of the Act, signed into law in November 2021, relating to hydrogen include:
- US DOE to prepare a national strategy and roadmap to facilitate a clean hydrogen economy.
- Clean hydrogen manufacturing and recycling program to support the hydrogen supply chain (US$500 million in FY22-26).
- Establishment of at least four regional clean hydrogen hubs (US$8 billion in FY22-26).
- A demonstration, commercialisation and deployment program intended to decrease the cost of clean hydrogen production from electrolysers (US$1 billion in FY22-26).
- Development of an initial standard for the carbon intensity of clean hydrogen.
For details of the implementation of these programs see Subtitle B – Hydrogen Research and Development of the Act.
In February 2022, the U.S. DOE announced two Requests for Information (RFI) to collect feedback from stakeholders to inform the implementation and design of the Infrastructure Law’s Regional Hydrogen Hub and the Electrolysis and Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling Programs.
In June 2022, the U.S. DOE released a Notice of Intent (NOI) to fund the Infrastructure Law’s program to develop regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) across the US. The NOI covers US$8.0 billion funding over the five-year period encompassing fiscal years 2022 through 2026 to support the development of at least four H2Hubs.
In June 2022, it was reported that the US President invoked the Defence Production Act (DPA) granting the U.S. DOE access to the US$545 million DPA emergency fund to support the building of US manufacturing capacity in key clean-energy sectors, including electrolyser manufacturing.
In September 2022, the U.S. DOE released a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) in accordance with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The U.S. DOE has defined a four-phase structure for the H2Hubs opportunity:
- Phase 1 – initial planning and analysis activities to ensure technological and financial viability.
- Phase 2 – finalisation of engineering designs and business development, site access, labor agreements, permitting, offtake agreements, etc.
- Phase 3 – construction activities.
- Phase 4 – ramp-up of the H2Hub to full operations.
This FOA solicits plans for all four phases of proposed H2Hub activities; however, the U.S. DOE would only initially authorize funding for Phase I. The U.S. DOE’s review and evaluation of deliverables reflecting activities in each phase will inform Go/No-Go decisions that occur between or within Phases.
For this initial FOA launch, the U.S. DOE envisions selecting six (6) to ten (10) H2Hubs for a combined total of up to $6-7 billion in federal funding. The U.S. DOE has indicated it may issue a second launch of this FOA to solicit additional H2Hubs beyond those selected in the initial launch.
In September 2022, the U.S. DOE released draft guidance for a Clean Hydrogen Production Standard developed to meet the requirements of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This initial proposal establishes a target of 4.0 kgCO2e/kgH2 for lifecycle (i.e., “well-to-gate”) greenhouse emissions associated with hydrogen production, accounting for multiple requirements within the Act provision as well as incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act (see below). Stakeholder comments on the draft guidance are due by October 20, 2022.
In March 2023, the U.S. DOE announced a funding opportunity of up to US$750 million (the first phase of a total of US1.5 billion available) under the ‘Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis’ and ‘Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling’ programs of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The DOE envisions granting multiple financial assistance awards with the period of performance being approximately two to five years. The application process will include two phases: a Concept Paper phase (due 19 April 2023) and a Full Application phase (due 19 July 2023).
In July 2023, the U.S. DOE released a Notice of Intent (NOI), which includes a Request for Information (RFI), to invest up to US$1 billion in a demand-side initiative to support the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs initiative. The demand-side support mechanism would provide multi-year support for clean hydrogen produced by projects affiliated with the H2Hubs initiative and would facilitate bankable clean hydrogen demand from a diverse set of offtakers. The mechanism could include one or more design factors such as pay-for-delivery contracts, offtake backstops, feasibility funding to support analysis by offtakers, or other measures that strengthen demand for clean hydrogen and increase revenue certainty for H2Hubs.
Inflation Reduction Act
In August 2022, the US Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which included large investments/incentives to support clean energy development. A number of provisions of the Act refer to clean hydrogen and a summary can be found here.
In August 2023, the US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released proposed rules on key provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act relating to employment aspects (e.g., prevailing wage, apprenticeship).
America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition
In February 2022, the U.S. DOE released a major report on “America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition”. The study is supported by 13 deep-dive supply chain assessments across the energy sector. One of the deep dive assessments undertaken examined Water Electrolysers and Fuel Cells Supply Chain.
Nuclear-Powered Hydrogen Demonstration Projects
In November 2022, the U.S. DOE announced that it had already started teaming up with utilities to support four hydrogen demonstration projects at nuclear power plants – Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Station (Oswego, New York), Davis–Besse Nuclear Power Station (Oak Harbor, Ohio), Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant (Red Wing, Minnesota), Palo Verde Generating Station (Tonopah, Arizona). In March 2023, the US DOE announced that clean hydrogen production was underway at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Oswego, New York. The site owner, Constellation, is to use the hydrogen generated on-site to help cool the power plant.
The US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization
In January 2023, the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency, released the U.S. National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. Amongst other things, the report highlights the further development and deployment of clean-energy technologies such as electric vehicles and hydrogen and sustainable fuels, while also building out the supporting infrastructure for clean transportation.
Pathways to Commercial Liftoff – Clean Hydrogen
In March 2023, the U.S. DOE launched the first in a series of Liftoff Reports focused on clean hydrogen, advanced nuclear, and long duration energy storage, with additional reports forthcoming. These emerging technology areas have been chosen due to their anticipated role in the clean energy transition, to complement that of mature clean energy technologies. It is intended these reports are to be updated and revised over time.
US EPA Guidance
In May 2023, the US EPA proposed Clean Air Act emission limits and guidelines for carbon dioxide from fossil fuel-fired power plants, which would set limits for new gas-fired combustion turbines, existing coal, oil and gas-fired steam generating units, and certain existing gas-fired combustion turbines.
Amongst a range of guidance proposals, the US EPA has included guidance proposals on best system of emission reduction (BSER) for low-greenhouse gas hydrogen pathways and CCS pathways.
Updated: September 2023