U.S. Energy Department seeks to reduce hydrogen costs

By Jack Burke07 June 2021

Department seeks demonstration projects

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Earthshots Initiative is designed to accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable and reliable 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 Energy Earthshots are an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation, collaboration and acceleration of our clean energy economy by tackling the toughest remaining barriers to quickly deploy emerging clean energy technologies at scale,” said Secretary Jennifer Granholm. “First up: Hydrogen Shot, which sets an ambitious yet achievable cost target to accelerate innovations and spur demand of clean hydrogen. Clean hydrogen is a game-changer. It will help decarbonize high-polluting heavy-duty and industrial sectors, while delivering good-paying clean energy jobs and realizing a net-zero economy by 2050.”

The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Industries are beginning to implement clean hydrogen to reduce emissions, but there are still many hurdles to deploying it at scale. Currently, hydrogen from renewable energy costs about US$5 per kilogram. By achieving Hydrogen Shot’s 80% cost reduction goal, the program can unlock a five-fold increase in demand by increasing clean hydrogen production from pathways such as renewables, nuclear, and thermal conversion, the department said in a news release.

The U.S. Energy Department announced that it was starting an Earthshots initiative to reduce the costs of clean energy within a decade — starting with its first goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen to US$1 per kilogram.

The Energy Earthshots are designed to drive integrated program development across DOE’s science, applied energy offices, and ARPA-E to address tough technological challenges and cost hurdles, and rapidly advance solutions to help achieve climate and economic competitiveness goals.

As part of the launch, at the DOE’s Hydrogen Program Annual Merit Review and Peer Evaluation Meeting, DOE’s Hydrogen Program issued a Request for Information (RFI) on viable hydrogen demonstrations, including specific locations, that can help lower the cost of hydrogen, reduce carbon emissions and local air pollution, create good-paying jobs, and provide benefits to disadvantaged communities. Topics in the RFI include:

  • 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

Responses are due July 7, 2021, by 5 p.m. ET. For more information about this RFI, visit EERE Exchange. For more information on DOE’s efforts to enable at-scale clean hydrogen, visit the Hydrogen Program.

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