Oil and gas and coal senators cross party lines to sponsor hydrogen bills

Six US senators, all but one of whom represent a major energy-producing state, introduced a series of bills last week to boost the development of hydrogen-based energy infrastructure.

“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source, but we lack the infrastructure to reap the benefits for a wide range of industries,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “This legislation would help make hydrogen more accessible and profitable, because businesses and consumers can use this reliable energy resource.”

The bipartite “Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative” comprises three bills: the Hydrogen Act for Ports, the Hydrogen Law for Industry and the Hydrogen Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (HIFIA). Senators co-sponsoring the bills with Cornyn include Delaware Democrat Chris Coons, Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, and New Mexico Democrats Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján. Senator Shelley Moore-Capito, RW.Va., is also a co-sponsor of HIFIA.

“The deployment of hydrogen in emission-intensive sectors, such as steel production and shipping, offers the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the quality of air, while maintaining energy and economic security, ”Coons said.

The Cornyn and Coons offices said the Hydrogen for Ports Act would create a subsidy program for hydrogen-powered equipment in ports and in navigation applications. They said the Hydrogen for Industry Act would create another subsidy program – in this case to promote “commercial scale demonstration projects for industrial end-use hydrogen applications, including included in the production of steel, cement, glass and chemicals ”.

Under a pilot funding program created through HIFIA legislation, grants and “flexible low-interest loans” would be available for upgraded or new hydrogen transport infrastructure, senators’ offices said. of Delaware and Texas. The bill envisions a hydrogen-focused program similar to the existing “TIFIA” and “WIFIA” programs for highways and water infrastructure, respectively.

Projects that are supposed to maximize emission reductions will be prioritized under the programs created by the legislative package, the Coons office said. The Delaware Democrat’s office added that the HIFIA bill calls for a study to answer questions on technical requirements for the transportation and storage of hydrogen as well as to assess jurisdiction over siting, construction, safety and regulation of hydrogen transport infrastructure.

Praise for the natural gas and chemicals infrastructure sectors

The legislative package has won the support of various environmental organizations as well as companies engaged in pipeline transport and chemical manufacturing.

“Williams supports the Coons-Cornyn Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative, in particular the Hydrogen for Industry Act and the Hydrogen Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act,” said

Brian Hlavinka, Director of Williams, New Energy Ventures, Strategic Corporate Development. “William’s energy infrastructure network, which manages 30% of natural gas used for power generation, heating and industrial use in the United States, is adaptable to the future storage and transportation of renewable energy. “

An Air Liquide executive, which maintains large operations in Delaware and Texas, said the legislative package will help spur technological developments and job creation and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“By leveraging the versatility of hydrogen, the Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative will encourage the adoption of hydrogen technologies in sectors where hydrogen provides an effective and efficient path to decarbonization, including ports and industrial sectors, ”said Joe Fawell, Vice President of Government Affairs at Air Liquide.

Mark Newman, CEO of Delaware-based The Chemours Co., said the legislation “will create a framework for a hydrogen economy” by supporting the construction of infrastructure.

“Whether you produce green hydrogen or use it to power industry or transportation, Chemours ion exchange membranes fuel the hydrogen economy,” said the director of the spin-off company. by DuPont. “And while Chemours is partnering with the University of Delaware to develop our next-generation membranes that can drive clean hydrogen at cost parity with diesel, the potential drastic increase in clean hydrogen production requires investments to build an infrastructure to ensure that hydrogen can get to where it is most needed. “

A representative from Cornyns’ office confirmed to NGI that the bills do not include language distinguishing between “blue hydrogen”, which uses natural gas as a feedstock, and “green hydrogen” based on it. renewable energies.

Phillips 66 works with a fuel cell manufacturer that is developing green hydrogen production facilities in four states.

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