Mar 10, 2023

An Opportunity For Indiana Heavy Industry and Workforce

A coalition of states including Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin are competing for substantial federal funding in order to execute clean hydrogen production and use initiatives, supporting decarbonization, manufacturing, and community economic benefits in the region.



“The Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MACHH2) combined resources and expertise with the Midwest Hydrogen Corridor Consortium (MHCC) to focus efforts on hydrogen’s expanding role as a versatile energy source.”



The newly expanded coalition aims to accomplish several goals: leverage existing resources and infrastructure to establish hydrogen production and distribution; lead various community engagement efforts; advance hydrogen technology in collaboration with national institutions; and implement workforce development programs to support clean energy jobs. Clean energy hydrogen hubs, like the one in the Midwest, will likely reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as compared to conventional fossil fuel processes.

A key region for successful hydrogen infrastructure deployment is northwest Indiana.  In addition to favorable geology to store captured CO2, this region’s heavy industry and logistics netowrk make it a natural user of hydrogen fuel.  The coalition will seek support from companies in this region and across the state to raise the competitiveness of the Midwest application. 

As part of the recent bipartisan infrastructure bill, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) allocated $7 billion to establish six to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across the country. According to the bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a regional clean hydrogen hub is defined as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in the close proximity.” As a versatile fuel, hydrogen can be produced from clean, diverse and domestic energy resources – a favored option to decarbonize energy-intensive heavy industry and support heavy-duty transportation. 

The hydrogen hubs will be one of the largest investments in the DOE’s history, according to Neil Banwart, managing director for hydrogen ecosystem at Energy Systems Network. “Hydrogen hubs are a critical component of the Administration’s commitment to invest in America’s workforce, jumpstart local economic growth, and create good-paying, union jobs as we build a clean energy economy, improve energy security, and tackle climate change.”

The DOE’s approach to developing these hubs will prioritize the issues of environmental justice as well as engaging local communities, especially those which have been historically disadvantaged and underserved because of past energy practices. Banwart says in the short-term, there could be significant economic impact from these investments in establishing the hub. “Over time, these hubs can serve as a catalyst to establish hydrogen as an important component of a carbon-free grid and net zero emissions.”