It comes in the same week as a new Hydrogen Council report, titled Global Hydrogen Flows, threw the spotlight on the future role and significance of the US hydrogen market in meeting not only its domestic energy needs but also global hydrogen demand.

As way of celebrating the progress seen in the US, H2 View wanted to take the opportunity to revisit some of the biggest stories over the past 12 months that have been laying the foundations the nation’s hydrogen economy.

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

November 2021 saw President Joe Biden dedicate $9.5bn for the hydrogen industry in the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, solidifying that a hydrogen-fuelling future for the US and directing the federal government to develop the country’s first national roadmap and strategy.

The act set out to make $8bn for large-scale regional clean hydrogen hubs, $1bn for hydrogen electrolysis research and development, and $500m for clean hydrogen manufacturing and recycling, available to the industry.

Read more: President Biden dedicates $9.5bn for the hydrogen industry in $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

Welcoming the bill, Frank Wolak, President and CEO of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA), said, “I am thrilled by the passage of this bill, which represents the strong bipartisan support for the hydrogen and fuel cell industry and the hard world of our membership. This bill demonstrates the incredible potential for creating the nation’s hydrogen economy.”

Establishment of the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations

Coming off the back President Biden’s package of hydrogen funding, the US Department of Energy (DOE) in December (2021), established the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations with hydrogen set to feature as a key aspect of the new branch.

Read more: US DOE established ‘the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations’ with hydrogen key in the office’s developments

The office was launched to accelerate clean energy projects to support the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provided $20bn for the office’s establishment.

HFC Bus Council formed

The new year brought the formation of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus Council (HFC Bus Council), a ‘first-of-its-kind’ national coalition of public transit agencies, manufacturers, and suppliers, which hopes to boost US hydrogen bus deployments.

Leveraging on experience of industry experts, the group plans to expand development, deployment, and utilisation of safe, clean, and efficient hydrogen fuel cell electric buses, and create additional market opportunities.

Its founding members include, NFL Group, SunLine Transit Agency, Foothill Transit, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, Stark Area Regional Transit Authority, Utah Transit Authority, Nel, Ballard, and many more.

Read more: US hydrogen bus deployments to be boosted by newly formed HFC Bus Council

Paul Soubry, President and CEO of NFL Group, said, “Through leveraging a public-private approach, the HFC Bus Council brings the best of all worlds together in educating stakeholders on fuel cell technology, advocating for funding, and sharing key learnings from deployments across America.”

DOE launches Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize

In June (2022), the Department of Energy (DOE) announced it had launched its much anticipated $2.6m Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize, aimed at reducing the cost of clean hydrogen production to $1 per kilogramme.

Hoping to identify, develop, and test disruptive technologies, the Incubator Prize followed on from the 2021 announcement of Hydrogen Shot which planned to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% within a decade to help the US meet Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Read more: $2.6m Hydrogen Shot Incubator Prize launched by DOE

H2 View’s North America Hydrogen Summit

July saw H2 View head over to San Francisco, California for its first-ever in person event to host its North America Hydrogen Summit, which brought together key industry player, policy makers, and end-users, for a discussion and debate.

The Summit heard from the likes of Nicholas Pocard, Vice-President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Ballard Power Systems, James Kenney, Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department, and Michael Hoban, from Chevron New Energies, across four sessions covering hydrogen hubs, mobility, policy, and investment.

Rounding off the Summit, Bill Elrick, Executive Director of the then California Fuel Cell Partnership, told the delegation, ““Hydrogen has changed entirely. It used to be the unicorn in the room, but I feel now, it is a completely different ballgame.

“We know climate change and the urgency that can be seen around it is really pushing the momentum of hydrogen, fuel cells, and every component of this industry.”

Read more: Let’s make hydrogen happen – the closing message from H2 View’s North America Hydrogen Summit

Inflation Reduction Act signed into law

In August, US Congressed passed the landmark Inflation Reduction Act which President Biden had described as ‘the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis’.

The act detailed the Tax and Climate Bill which offered up to $3 per kg in production tax credits for low-carbon hydrogen, as well as a revision to electric vehicle tax credit to offer up to $7,500 for new hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, and $4,500 for used vehicles.

With a final vote of 220-207 in Congress, the Act made its ascent to President Biden who signed it into law, marking a milestone for the US hydrogen industry.

Read more: Win for hydrogen in the US – Inflation Reduction Act to become law

In a statement, coalition of companies across the hydrogen value chain, Hydrogen Forward, offered its support for the act, “The Clean Hydrogen Production Tax Credit will provide the regulatory certainty needed by industry to invest and scale the deployment of clean hydrogen throughout the United States.

“The federal government’s actions, through the IRA and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, demonstrate the nation’s commitment to achieving ambitious economy-wide decarbonisation goals, with hydrogen playing a prominent role in those efforts.”

Arrival of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership (HFCP)

Nearly 23 years after its launch, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, which has promoted and encouraged the growth of hydrogen mobility in California, launched itself onto the national stage, rebranding as the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership (HFCP).

The move reflected the growth of hydrogen mobility in its home state and the acceleration of hydrogen in the US. The rebrand came in parallel with the Partnership’s initiation of a new national hydrogen strategy which seeks to accelerate hydrogen production and distribution to support heavy-duty trucking, and light-duty rollout across the country.

Read more: California Fuel Cell Partnership goes national, becoming the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership

Joseph Capello, Chair of the HFCP and CEO of Iwatani Corporation of America, said, “For more than 20 years, the Partnership has brought together government and industry in constructive dialogue to further commercialisation of hydrogen mobility to achieve our common environmental and economic goals.

“The change in name further enables our members to work across the country to share information, best practices and lessons learned by all of our members.”

$7bn hydrogen hub funding programme and draft hydrogen strategy

September 2022 saw the US DOE open applications for a $7bn programme to create clean regional hydrogen hubs across the nation and released its draft of the National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap.

Set to fund between six and 10 hubs, the programme came as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which the DOE hope will form a critical arm of the country’s clean energy economy.

The draft strategy estimated that the use of clean hydrogen could reduce US emissions by around 10% by 2050, compared to 2005 levels.

The draft roadmap prioritises three key strategies: target strategic, high-impact uses of clean hydrogen; reduce the cost of clean hydrogen; and focus on regional networks, to ensure that clean hydrogen is developed and adopted as an effective decarbonisation tool.

Read more: US DOE opens applications for $7bn hydrogen hub funding programme and unveils draft hydrogen strategy

The road ahead

The past 12 months have undoubtedly seen some of the most significant developments in the hydrogen landscape in recent years, seemingly teeing up the US to become a leader in the hydrogen economy of the future.

As aforementioned in this article, the Hydrogen Council’s most recent report predicted that the US is likely to not only meet its domestic demand for hydrogen but play an important role in supply various regions of the globe with the clean energy carrier, and its derivatives.

The Global Hydrogen Flows report found that by 2025, some of the existing trade of gray ammonia and methanol is likely to be replaced by some clean trade to Europe and Asia from North America, which by 2030, will begin to facilitate its first long-distance hydrogen pipelines for internal trade.

By the mid-century, the Hydrogen Council expect that North America will be a significant exporter of ammonia and methanol to regions such as Europe and Asia.

Read more: Regional hydrogen supply and demand mismatch will force global trade links by 2050, report predicts

Despite much in the future of hydrogen remaining unclear, with many challenges left to scale, many within the US industry remain confident that recent developments have set the nation on course for success.

In a recent interview, Claire Behar, Chief Commerical Officer of Hy Store Energy, told H2 View, “It’s truly exciting to be part of this critical moment in clean energy development – when all the pieces are coming together to enable green hydrogen to reach and be utilised at its full potential.

“The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act’s tax incentives have set the stage to allow green hydrogen to be cost-competitive across so many sectors – but particularly maritime shipping fuel, ammonia used in fertiliser, and steel production.

“This levelling of the playing field will drive adoption across these any many more hard-to-abate sectors, and we’ll see the scaling of green hydrogen increase to a great degree as a result.”