Energy Department seeks to cut hydrogen cost 80% in bid for clean and versatile power

June 15, 2021

The Department of Energy will push to cut the cost of producing low-carbon hydrogen by 80% in the next decade to tap into the versatile energy resource’s ability to curb emissions in the hardest-to-abate sectors.

Hydrogen is the first focus area of the Energy Department’s new Energy Earthshots Initiative that will marshal the agency’s scientific expertise and resources to accelerate breakthroughs in nascent clean energy technologies.

The agency said it aims to cut the cost of producing zero-carbon hydrogen from roughly $5-per-kilogram to $1-per-kilogram by 2030. By doing so, the Energy Department said it could prompt a five-fold increase in the demand for clean hydrogen produced with excess renewable energy, nuclear power, or natural gas with carbon capture.

“Clean hydrogen is a game-changer,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in announcing the new initiative. “It will help decarbonize high-polluting heavy-duty and industrial sectors while delivering good-paying clean energy jobs and realizing a net-zero economy by 2050.”

The Biden administration and industry have taken an interest in hydrogen because of its versatility as a zero-carbon fuel. For example, hydrogen can help decarbonize long-haul transport such as heavy-duty trucks and shipping, serve as a replacement fuel for manufacturing plants, and store energy similar to a long-duration battery to balance a low-carbon grid.

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