Govs. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and J. Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma announced Tuesday (Dec. 27) that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has encouraged the HALO Hydrogen Hub to submit a full application for the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Program, allocated through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
The three governors announced the creation of the HALO Hub, a bipartisan, three-state partnership between Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, in March of 2022 to compete for funding outlined in IIJA.
The hub isn’t a brick-and-mortar site. According to Julie Linck, chief administrator of environment for the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment, it is a coalition of users aiming to lower the costs of hydrogen for power initiatives.
If the HALO Hub receives federal money, it could be used for specific technology investments in the three states. She said in a June speech to the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association.
The investments could allow for the use of hydrogen at scale and possibly include incentives for its use to make it more economical than natural gas. Currently, she said the use of hydrogen is more expensive than natural gas unless it’s scaled.
The federal program will appropriate up to $7 billion to the DOE to develop six to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs demonstrating the production, processing, delivery, storage, and end-use of clean hydrogen. DOE’s ultimate goal is to create a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential consumers and connective infrastructure located in close proximity that ultimately intersects and remains sustainable after DOE’s grant expires.
The DOE application process includes two phases – the first of which was an initial broad concept pitch, due to DOE in early November. Following an independent assessment of the various broad proposals, DOE encouraged the HALO Hub to enter the second phase by submitting a full application to receive up to $1.25 billion in federal funding.
“We are excited to partner with our neighbors in Louisiana and Oklahoma to put forward a winning application. Arkansas has a growing and diverse energy portfolio and natural resources that are vital to any successful regional hub. We are proud of our partners and companies in Arkansas that are leading the way to develop demand for low-carbon hydrogen and showing that hydrogen can be commercially viable,” Hutchinson said.
The HALO Hub is currently preparing a full application that demonstrates the three-state coalition’s assets across all parts of the value chain, from feedstock to production, transportation and delivery, storage, and end-use.
The submission deadline for applications is April 7, 2023. DOE is expected to announce funding recipients in the fall of 2023.