A whole lot of hydrogen is coming. Michigan was tapped by federal energy regulators to build a new clean hydrogen hub and develop regional supply chains for the fuel source. The goal is to create a market for fueling trucks and heavy-duty vehicles with clean hydrogen, which comes without any tailpipe emissions.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced $1 billion in federal funding for the project by Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, known as MachH2. She said it would bring thousands of jobs to Michigan.
The project is expected to create more than 12,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.
“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,” Whitmer said Friday in a statement.
The project is to develop a new hydrogen production plant in Ypsilanti and expand a hydrogen production and refueling center in Flint. The facilities would produce hydrogen fuel for use in heavy-duty vehicles and manufacturing across several Midwestern states.
Michigan state officials also will partner with MachH2 to build a hydrogen truck stop in the Detroit area to serve international heavy-duty traffic at the Gordie Howe International Bridge.
The federal dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that set aside $8 billion to create a set of clean hydrogen hubs across America.
U.S. Congressmembers Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township, and Debbie Dingell, D-Ann Arbor, both celebrated the news of the federal funding for the new hydrogen hub.
Kildee said investing in hydrogen will help lower costs for the public and improve air quality. Dingell said the project will position Michigan as a national clean energy and technology leader.
Hydrogen is produced by splitting water molecules with electricity; it is considered carbon-free only when that electricity doesn’t come from a fossil fuel source.
Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation – tailpipe smog pollution – is a major factor in the accelerating climate crisis. It amounted to 29% of all U.S. carbon emissions in 2021, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Experts argue that replacing diesel in the trucking sector could reduce as much as 1,300 kilotons per year of carbon-dioxide by 2035. That is the equivalent of removing 280,000 gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
Carbon emissions drive the greenhouse effect to cause global warming and the accelerating climate crisis.