Elected officials, experts, stakeholders discuss plans and benefits for Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub




Elected officials, experts, stakeholders discuss plans and benefits for Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub.


Elected officials and stakeholders are discussing the next steps for the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub.


Delaware’s Congressional delegation gathered with industry leaders Monday to discuss the future of a multi-state hydrogen hub which received a $750 million U.S. Department of Energy grant in October.


The Department’s deputy secretary David Turk says this is a key pivot point for many sectors.


David Turk, The Department’s deputy secretary, says:


All the pieces come together, it’s not like we need to transition again,


“This is clean, this is good for our environment, this is good for our climate, and this is for the long haul.”


It’s about an 8 to ten-year build-out according to the chair of the MACH2 project National Wildlife Federation President and CEO Collin O’Mara.


“There are technologies that are proven that are deployable today, there are other things that are being innovated right now on UD’s campus that we’re going to be able to deploy tomorrow. But we are hoping to get people to work as soon as humanly possible.”


Turk says applicants were required to make a community benefits plan to make sure the federal investment has workers and communities in mind as beneficiaries.


O’Mara, who is considering joining the 2024 governor’s race as the third Democratic candidate, adds the hub will produce green and pink hydrogen, which produces no emissions. Opposition groups like the Delaware Riverkeeper Network say the hubs will still utilize fracked gas, but O’Mara says their final application eliminated any use of natural gas.


“This is going to be a series of electrolyzers stacked next to each other that are going to be powered by renewable energy, hopefully, solar in the early years and hopefully offshore wind in a few years out,” he says.


Sen. Chris Coons says the hub is a step in the right direction:


Of the seven hydrogen hubs in the country, this is the greenest,


“And this investment in federal resources combined with local innovation is one of the most critical moves towards a genuinely net-zero economy across our whole country.”


Coons says this hub has the highest connection to organized labor, and says it has the greatest potential to transform an entire region’s transportation, industrial, and manufacturing base.


“I think will ultimately prove to be the most successful of the hydrogen hubs,”


Stakeholders are starting to discuss the benefits of bringing hydrogen energy to the region.


John Sisson, Delaware Transit Corporation CEO, says:


They’ve received grants to purchase two hydrogen-powered buses, and hope to transition their entire fleet to clean energy.


“I think hydrogen is a great option for the size of buses that we operate, the distance that they need to go, so that is our plan to continue to invest and grow the fleet,” Sisson says.


DART’s fleet is currently about 10 percent electric. Sisson says those buses get about 120 miles to a charge, but a hydrogen-powered bus can go twice or triple as far.


Sisson adds a hydrogen bus is around $1.2 million but will get cheaper as the technology becomes more widespread. For now, DART continues to apply for federal grants to offset costs. They’ve received two so far that put them at cost neutral.


The hub is expected to create and retain more than 20,000 jobs in Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Southern New Jersey. Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester says stakeholders in the hub include education programs and universities that are building a talent pipeline for the green energy sector, and that have already started this kind of work and have a workforce ready to go.


O’Mara says they are working on getting the first chunk of grant money for planning and engineering work.



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