Coalition wants to bring regional hydrogen hub to Georgia

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

Sen. Ossoff, Mayor Dickens, plus Georgia business and clean energy leaders are among the group angling for the fuel hub.

A coalition of Georgia business, academic and political leaders is pitching Georgia to the federal government as a potential hub for the development of hydrogen as a viable energy source.

The hub would be part of a network of research facilities that the U.S. Department of Energy wants to create to explore using hydrogen for industrial, residential and transportation uses. Some of the hubs will also focus on producing hydrogen from different feedstocks, including fossil fuels, renewables and nuclear energy.

Development of hydrogen is part of President Joe Biden’s roadmap to expand clean energy sources and reduce climate change-causing greenhouse gases. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Biden signed last year, includes billions to advance hydrogen technology.

The Georgia coalition, assembled by U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, includes Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and more than 20 other local business, academic and clean energy leaders.

On Monday, the DOE published a notice that it would fund the development of six to 10 clean hydrogen “H2Hubs” across the country using $8 billion from the infrastructure bill. The next day, the Georgia group sent a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm making the case for locating one of the projects in the Peach State.

“We share an understanding of Georgia’s transportation, logistics, energy, manufacturing and research assets and will collaborate in developing the strongest possible proposal for a Southeast regional hub centered around Georgia,” the letter says.

The letter was signed by leaders of many Georgia institutions, including Georgia Power, Georgia Tech, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Delta Air Lines, MARTA and Hyundai Motor Co.

News of the coalition’s plans were first reported by Axios Atlanta.

Last year, the Biden administration announced an ambitious goal to slash U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels by 2030. During a roundtable discussion held at Georgia Tech in late April, Ossoff portrayed the hubs as nerve centers for the research and development needed to make hydrogen a cost-effective energy solution that can help limit climate change.

The Department of Energy is expected to announce more details on the availability of the infrastructure funds this fall.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and has been hyped for years as a promising, low-carbon fuel and energy source. However, questions remain about whether its expansion really is an effective way to reduce heat-trapping gas emissions.

Already, hydrogen is used in vehicles and fuel cells, and can also be burned in power plants. But roughly 96% percent of the hydrogen currently produced is actually derived from fossil fuels. That process requires lots of energy and still results in emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.