Why Some of the ‘Clean’ Hydrogen Hubs in the US Plan to use Natural Gas, a Fossil Fuel




Why some of the ‘clean’ hydrogen hubs in the US plan to use natural gas, a fossil fuel.


President Joe Biden recently approved seven regional hydrogen hubs to receive $7 billion in federal funding intended to spur the development of “clean” hydrogen in the United States. Hydrogen, if produced in a way that does not generate copious greenhouse gas emissions, could be a critical tool to decarbonize some particularly challenging segments of the economy like heavy shipping.


Jennifer Granholm, head of the U.S. Department of the Energy, said when she announced the selection of the hubs earlier in October:


Clean hydrogen is the Swiss Army Knife of zero-carbon solutions because it can do just about everything:  Powering trucks, buses, and airplanes …


“Heating homes and fertilizing crops … Revolutionizing shipping … And cleaning up America’s manufacturing industry.” 



  • Of the seven hydrogen hubs announced earlier in October, two plan to use exclusively renewable energy and the other five will use a combination of renewables, nuclear power, and natural gas with carbon capture and storage.
  • Making hydrogen from natural gas is not necessarily a climate boondoggle, but the only way it’s positive for the climate is with careful execution and ultra-rigorous oversight from the federal government.
  • It is possible to make low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas, but right now this kind of “blue hydrogen” is made at very small scale in the United States.



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