Biden’s hydrogen hub to bring thousands of new clean energy jobs to Michigan

Biden’s hydrogen hub to bring thousands of new clean energy jobs to Michigan

Supporters listen as US President Joe Biden speaks on Oct. 13 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

By Kyle Kaminski

October 18, 2023

Up to $1 billion in federal funding has been awarded in Michigan to help develop regional supply chains for hydrogen-powered trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.

MICHIGAN—Federal funding awarded to Michigan this month will create a new “hydrogen hub” to help accelerate the development of hydrogen-powered trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles as President Joe Biden’s administration continues to push for a transition to clean energy.

Last week, the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen was picked to receive up to $1 billion from the US Department of Energy to help develop regional supply chains and expand the use of hydrogen fuel in Michigan and across the Midwest. 

Michigan was among 16 states to receive funding. The project is set to create 12,100 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs. It’s unclear how many will be in Michigan.

“Manufacturing is a fundamental part of the Midwest region’s identity and economic prosperity. Today’s announcement will allow us to stay true to this heritage while advancing innovation to remain globally competitive in the ongoing transition to clean energy,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement, which credited the Biden administration for the “landmark achievement.”

In addition to the transition to electric vehicles, Biden’s administration has been eying the development of hydrogen for trucks and other commercial vehicles—namely because it provides a long driving range and short refueling times compared to electric vehicles. 

Research shows that replacing diesel in the trucking sector could also significantly reduce carbon emissions—the equivalent of removing 280,000 gas-powered cars from the road in one year. State officials said developing the market for hydrogen fuel could be a real boon for the state’s economy, leading to the creation of an estimated 8,400 new jobs in Michigan by 2035.

To jump-start the production and use of clean hydrogen, Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriated $8 billion for the US Department of Energy to fund a set of Clean Hydrogen Hubs. The program included up to $7 billion to establish six to ten regional hubs across the country.

State officials said the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen was one of only seven hubs selected with the purpose of building a clean hydrogen economy—which will reportedly include a new “Truck Stop of the Future” in the Detroit area and help establish Michigan as the “ideal location” for building and testing hydrogen-powered trucks and other commercial vehicles.

“The Midwest Hydrogen Hub presents an exciting opportunity for our region to advance our position as a national clean energy and technology leader, while bringing thousands of good-paying jobs to our communities,” US Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) said last week.

Additionally, the Alliance will oversee the construction of a hydrogen production facility in Ypsilanti and the expansion of a hydrogen production and refueling center in Flint, which aims to assist with the local transit system’s ongoing transition to hydrogen-powered buses.

“Investing in hydrogen will help us lower costs for the public and improve the air quality for our community,” US Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Michigan) said in a statement announcing the funding.

Beyond helping lower the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, the project is also centered on job creation, economic growth, and a smaller environmental footprint, federal officials said. As part of Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, the hub also includes a plan to donate $1.5 million annually in grants that support workforce development and advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

State officials said the announcement also builds on Michigan’s leadership in advanced manufacturing and clean energy—which includes a position as the top state in the Midwest for clean energy jobs, according to a recent report from Environmental Entrepreneurs.

“It is rewarding and exciting to witness the convergence of the Midwest’s unmatched natural resources, world-class research institutions, and history and know-how of manufacturing to position our region and state as a hub for clean hydrogen innovation,” said Michigan Chief Infrastructure Officer Zachary Kolodin. “We are harnessing the power of collaboration, drawing on our rich industrial history and forging new paths toward a cleaner, more sustainable future.” 

READ MORE: Meet the Man Cashing Michigan’s Ticket to Fix the Damn State

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  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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