Hydrogen Hub Projects Announced, What’s Next?

In October 2023, the Biden Administration selected seven hydrogen hub projects to establish regional clean hydrogen hubs across America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These projects will create networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local infrastructure, or a hydrogen “ecosystem.”


The next step for these projects is the negotiation process, which is expected to extend until spring 2024 when the Department of Energy (DOE) will award the projects. Implementation of these projects will follow the awards. Several hydrogen fueling stations exist currently along the West Coast, but these stations are focused on passenger vehicles. The hubs’ focus is on power generation, agriculture, and the heavy-duty sector.

Hydrogen Hub Map

The Biden Administration established seven hydrogen hub projects across the country.


Five of the seven projects are proposing to supply hydrogen for heavy-duty transportation. Operators located within or near a hub who are interested in being a part of the hydrogen infrastructure should reach out to project coordinators now by finding their specific hub website or contacting the DOE at engage_H2Hubs@hq.doe.gov to express interest. These projects are in the early stages, and it may be some time before hydrogen production is in full swing, but it is important to make hub project developers aware of interested stakeholders in their project area. Getting involved will give operators a voice in where and how the distribution infrastructure will be implemented.

Operators interested in being a part of the hydrogen infrastructure, should reach out to project coordinators by finding their specific hub website or contacting the DOE at engage_H2Hubs@hq.doe.gov to express interest.

Clean Hydrogen Infographic

Source: The Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations

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Many fuel marketers agree that hydrogen is an easier fuel to adopt than other types of alternative fuels, as fueling times and distribution infrastructure may be similar to current diesel fueling operations. Fuel cell electric vehicles powered by hydrogen are zero-emission vehicles that reduce pollution, greenhouse gases, and dependence on petroleum. Hydrogen is a non-toxic, non-corrosive fuel that can be produced from natural gas, biogas, or the electrolysis of water. Hydrogen can store more energy in less weight than batteries, making it suitable for vehicles with heavy payloads and long ranges, such as trucks, buses, and trains. Fuel cell electric trucks (FCET) produce electricity on board using a hydrogen fuel cell.

Hydrogen seems to be more adaptable and similar to how diesel fueling operations work today, and there are state programs (with perhaps federal programs to follow) that also support the production and use of hydrogen fuel, which will work to help support the initiative.

Large corporations, including Walmart and Amazon, are setting goals to transition their transportation networks to zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) between 2030 and 2040. Fleets are under regulatory pressure to transition to ZEV, particularly in California, where the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) directs OEMs to sell only ZEV by 2036, and Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) regulations require OEMs to sell 30–50% ZEV vehicles for medium and heavy-duty by 2035. Along with large corporations and regulations pressuring for ZEV, there are incentives and initiatives in place or are currently being developed:

■Several states, including CA, OR, NY, MA, NJ, CO, WA, and MD, have taken significant steps to promote zero-emission vehicles.

■West Coast low carbon fuel standards—WA, OR, and CA state programs provide credit generation for hydrogen fuels

■Incentives in the works include the Clean Fuel Production Tax Credit (45V)—offering a $3/kg tax credit.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) does not currently allow for RIN generation from hydrogen fuel, however, with the governmental support for the development of hydrogen ecosystems, there is a possibility for RIN generation for clean hydrogen. A clean hydrogen standard has been proposed by the DOE to establish a target of 4.0 kgCO2e/kg H2 for hydrogen production on a “well to gate” lifecycle analysis. This target is consistent with the Inflation Reduction Act’s definition of “qualified clean hydrogen.” This standard was developed to guide the DOE when making funding decisions.

The “hydrogen shot” is a DOE initiative set in 2021 to accelerate breakthroughs of more abundant, affordable and reliable clean energy solutions. The initiative is to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 for one kilogram in one decade.

US Hydrogen Strategy

The DOE’s U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap depicts the cost analysis, based on costs in 2016-2021, of a fuel cell system, production, delivery and dispensing, and hydrogen storage.


While hydrogen production plans are getting underway and technology improvements continue for OEMs and equipment manufacturers, the cost of installing a hydrogen fueling station has been estimated to be around $1 million and would occupy up to approximately 13,000 square feet of real estate.

The cost of hydrogen dispensing depends on the type and capacity of the fueling station, the method and distance of hydrogen delivery, and the market demand and supply of hydrogen fuel.

According to some estimates, the levelized cost of hydrogen delivery and dispensing in 2020 ranged from $8 to $11 per kilogram for stations supplied by liquid tankers or gaseous tube trailers, with capacities of 450 to 1,000 kg/day.

If hydrogen is produced via electrolysis (splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen), then water and electricity will be needed. According to one estimate, producing one kilogram of hydrogen by electrolysis would consume about 13 gallons of water. Hydrogen can also be produced from other sources, such as natural gas, biomass, or nuclear energy, which may have different water requirements and environmental impacts.

Current thought is that storing and utilizing liquid hydrogen vs. gaseous or compressed hydrogen would make the most sense to maximize storage capacity as well as improve refueling time.

Hydrogen Dispenser


The average mile per gallon for hydrogen is not a simple or fixed number but rather a range that depends on many factors. To compare hydrogen vehicles with gasoline or electric vehicles, one would need to consider the entire life cycle of the fuel and the vehicle, as well as the specific performance and preferences of the driver. However, hydrogen OEMs, such as Hyzon, have recently tested models that have a 500- to 600-mile range with a 16-hour continuous operation. Hyzon also provides an option to convert a truck from diesel to hydrogen fuel cell, which involves removing all diesel components and installing hydrogen fuel cell components.

The industry is in the thick of the “Messy Middle,” a term coined by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) that describes the current phase of determining which type of energy will serve the transportation sector. There is considerable technology development and investments happening to advance these emerging fuels. There is not likely one ultimate solution but several depending upon a fleet’s business model. Operators who know their customers and the fuels they are considering in the future and are involved in alternative fuel projects in their area will have the opportunity to be part of the solution and grow with the industry.