Get away fro fossil fuel and switch to hydrogen, Green Hydrogen!

The Biden administration is awarding a $50 million grant to a New Orleans-led initiative to turn south Louisiana into a hub of “green hydrogen” activity. H2theFuture, a project spearheaded by Greater New Orleans Development Foundation, won the money for its efforts to transition the state’s economy away from hydrogen produced by fossil fuels toward “green hydrogen,” a cleaner form of hydrogen created using renewable energy. Hydrogen is commonly used for petroleum refining and fertilizer production, though markets are emerging for its use as a fuel. When burned in a fuel cell, hydrogen produces clean electricity with only water and heat as byproducts.

This is part of the Build Back Bigger initiative.

The funds are part of the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge, a competition led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration intended to drive regional and inclusive economic growth. It seeks to bring in historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and minority serving institutions to spur research for each winning project. H2theFuture is one of 21 winners of grant awards ranging from $25 million to $65 million. There were 529 initial applications for the grants. “With this grant, the H2theFuture coalition will help support sustainable investments for HBCUs and jumpstart a community in need of systemic economic diversification and environmental transformation away from nonrenewable energy,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

They had to win in the State to move to the national stage.

The state announced in December that H2theFuture’s proposed “green hydrogen energy cluster” was one of two finalists from Louisiana, and 60 nationwide, for a larger Build Back Better award. The other Louisiana finalist, an initiative from the New Orleans BioInnovation Center to turn south Louisiana into a health sciences corridor, did not make the final cut, though it did receive $500,000 in funding. Planned projects from H2theFuture include finding ways to reduce hydrogen costs, a development center for hydrogen-fueled ships, a hydrogen fueling barge and a central campus to connect the state’s “cluster ecosystem” for hydrogen. “This EDA investment will advance regional economic competitiveness in the clean energy space with a focus on equity, including creating a network of Louisiana’s HBCUs and one Historically American Indian University, creating a resilient regional economy for the future,” Alejandra Y. Castillo, assistant secretary of commerce for economic development at the EDA, said in a statement.

Both the winner and the also ran are good ideas and glad both got money.

$50 million for Green Hydrogen Initiative
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