Hydrogen is coming to the Heartland. Last October, seven Midwestern states formed the Midwest Hydrogen Coalition. More recently, Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri have partnered to establish the Mid-Continent Clean Hydrogen Hub (MCH2). The three states signed a memorandum of understanding in early April and then promptly filed an application with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive federal funding.
“Together we have an opportunity to open new markets for agriculture while strengthening our commitment to American-made renewable energy,” stated Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds. “As the regions’ leading states, we understand the power of coming together to create innovative solutions that grow our economies for the future.”
The hub could receive between $500 million and $1 billion in federal funding if approved. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $7 billion in funding for establishing up to 10 large-scale regional clean hydrogen hubs. MCH2 will be vying for funding to be one of the 10 hubs.
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“This partnership will help grow Nebraska and the Midwest’s economy by opening the pathway for billions of dollars of new investment into our community and hundreds of new, good-paying jobs,” commented Nebraska’s Governor Jim Pillen. “This hydrogen hub once again shows Nebraska’s commitment to renewable energy and our leadership in improving our country’s energy security.”
Ideal Energy, a solar and energy storage company located in Fairfield, Iowa, conducted a survey evaluating the state’s hydrogen potential. The survey refers to Iowa as the potential “Persian Gulf of Renewable Hydrogen,” referencing the vast oil reserves for which the real Persian Gulf is known. But that description could easily apply to the other states in the coalition.
The Midwest has robust clean energy resources that may help power the creation of hydrogen. Iowa generates more than 60 percent of its energy through clean sources, with Nebraska and Missouri generating 31.2 percent and 9.6 percent respectively. And, the Midwest’s agriculture industry would benefit from an amplified hydrogen industry in many ways, by using hydrogen to fuel heavy farm equipment or to develop agrichemicals. The Midwest also serves as the crossroads of America’s transportation industry, with everything from trucks to trains to pipelines passing through, making it an optimal location for hydrogen fuel expansion.
“Missouri and the Midwest enjoy a diverse energy portfolio that will only be strengthened by this clean hydrogen hub partnership,” Missouri’s Governor Mike Parson said. “This partnership looks to the future and the collective strength of our economies by bolstering reliable renewable energy sources and promoting energy security all while supporting opportunities for Missouri farmers and ranchers, business investment, and good-paying jobs across the region.”
With this new coalition in place, the three states will work together to collaboratively grow each of their hydrogen industries while vying for federal grant funding.
Hydrogen is a part of a cleaner energy future. States across the Midwest have been renewable power leaders for years. With two hydrogen coalitions in place, the Midwest is in a great position to lead the nation and potentially the world in developing this energy source as well.
Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.