The Argonne National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is among more than 70 collaborating organisations that have united to establish a clean-hydrogen hub (H2Hubs) in the Midwest known as the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2). This partnership has secured up to $1bn in funding from the DOE with the aim of expediting the production and utilisation of clean hydrogen.

The establishment of this hub will lay the groundwork for a fresh, clean-hydrogen economy. Once operational, it will play a pivotal role in a nationwide clean-hydrogen network aimed at bolstering communities through clean-energy investments, high-quality job opportunities, and enhanced energy security. The hub is projected to generate 13,600 direct jobs, comprising 12,100 construction roles and 1,500 permanent positions.

MachH2 is one of seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs selected by the DOE in this recent announcement.

The primary objective driving the creation of hydrogen hubs is to curb CO2 emissions by substituting fossil fuels with clean hydrogen in industries like steel, ammonia, oil refining, and transportation. These sectors are challenging to decarbonise through other methods.

Argonne Director Paul Kearns said: “MachH2 brings together government, industry, academia, and non-profits for the development of a Midwest hydrogen economy.

“Argonne looks forward to contributing to this regional partnership, leveraging our laboratory’s scientific and engineering leadership for a clean-energy future.”

The hub boasts the participation of two DOE national labs, numerous companies, universities, and non-profit organisations. This collaborative effort will concentrate on initiatives that advance hydrogen production, storage, transportation, and utilization.

Additionally, the hub aims to address environmental justice concerns in the Midwest by offering educational programs, job training, and entrepreneurial support in underprivileged communities and areas affected by the decline of manufacturing jobs.

While most of the hub’s projects will be centred in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, partners across the Midwest will engage in efforts to introduce clean hydrogen to their localities. Given its central location and access to various green-energy resources, the Midwest is a logical choice for establishing a new hub dedicated to clean hydrogen.

The adoption of clean hydrogen offers the opportunity to curtail CO2 emissions in various industries, including steel, ammonia, cement, oil refining, and transportation, by replacing fossil fuels with clean hydrogen.

Argonne’s technical contributions to MachH2 will primarily revolve around two key areas: conducting lifecycle assessments and performing techno-economic analyses.