As economies pivot away from reliance on petroleum, the use of hydrogen is increasingly considered as a key component in a portfolio of alternative fuels and developing technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first of a multi-part blog series on federal and state legislation being considered to stimulate “energy transition.” This blog post addresses selected U.S. federal legislation.
To help stimulate critical end-use demand in particularly “hard to abate” industrial sectors (e.g., heavy industry, transport and marine shipping), Senators Chris Coons (D) and John Cornyn (R), along with a group of bipartisan cosponsors have introduced the Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative. This package combines four pieces of legislation that will have potentially industry-wide implications by supporting both the adoption of hydrogen and the creation of infrastructure needed to transport, store, and deliver hydrogen.
The first bill in the package is S-646, known as the Hydrogen for Industry Act of 2023. This bill would amend the Energy Policy Act to establish a Hydrogen Technologies for Heavy Industry Demonstration Program. This program would support “commercial-scale” demonstration projects for industrial applications of hydrogen, including in the production of steel, cement, glass, and chemicals. Such processes have specific technical requirements that limit the options for substituting heat sources. The use of hydrogen would ensure that the necessary temperatures would still be supplied to the industrial sector, but with reduced emission rates. Hydrogen could also serve as a feedstock for the production of ammonia, methanol, or other bulk chemicals. $1.2 billion was authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the program for each fiscal year from 2024 through 2028. On March 2, 2023, the bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The second bill in the package is S-647, known as the Hydrogen for Ports Act of 2023. Sponsors highlight that, “ports are well-suited to be early adopters of hydrogen fuel, with multi-modal transportation applications converging on a single location that can share hydrogen infrastructure at scale.” The bill would require the Secretary of Transportation to establish a grant program to support the use of hydrogen- or ammonia-fueled equipment at U.S. ports and in other shipping applications. The bill would also require that a study be conducted regarding the “feasibility and safety of using hydrogen and ammonia as fuels in maritime applications.” $100 million was authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the program for each fiscal year from 2024 through 2028. On March 2, 2023, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Third, S-648, aka the Hydrogen for Trucks Act of 2023, would require the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, to establish a grant program to “demonstrate the performance and reliability of heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles that use hydrogen as a fuel source.” This program would incentivize private investment support the overall development of hydrogen trucking infrastructure while collecting critical data to inform future investments in hydrogen trucking infrastructure. $200 million was authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the program for each fiscal year from 2024 through 2028. On March 2, 2023, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Finally, S-649, aka the Hydrogen Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (HIFIA), would require the Secretary of Energy to create a grant program that provides loans for hydrogen infrastructure projects. The bill would also require a study be conducted to address questions related to transporting and storing hydrogen. $100 million was authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the HIFIA pilot program for each fiscal year from 2024 through 2028. On March 2, 2023, the bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Collectively, this package represents an important step in the adoption of hydrogen infrastructure across various important industries. We will continue to closely monitor the status of these bills throughout the legislative processand the topic of hydrogen across the United States.
Next week, look for an analogous blog we are drafting regarding hydrogen legislation in California.