Hydrogen Development

In this photo taken Nov. 17, 2014, a Toyota Motor Corp.'s new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle Mirai arrives at a charge station near Toyota's showroom in Tokyo. Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma will create a regional hub for the development of clean hydrogen products. 

(The Center Square) – In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican Sen. Gene Yaw have found common ground on an energy and environmental project: creating a clean hydrogen hub in Pennsylvania.

Wolf announced on Monday a goal “to make Pennsylvania a leader in the development of clean hydrogen and competitive for energy related federal funding.”

The governor wants to create a Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub in the commonwealth, part of a Biden administration initiative to expand the use of clean hydrogen. Doing so could create jobs and build toward “industrial sector decarbonization,” Wolf said.

For Democrats, the project has the appeal of a non-fossil fuel project and union jobs, along with more federal money. For Republicans, it’s a chance for economic growth.

“As a national leader in energy and manufacturing with a strong work force, Pennsylvania is primed for this opportunity to lead the transition to a new energy ecosystem in which fuels like hydrogen play a central role in both our economic success as well as achieving our decarbonization goals,” Wolf said.

Creating an RCHH would bring federal investments in the deployment of clean hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies: the Department of Energy has budgeted $8 billion for at least four RCHHs across the country. That has attracted the support of Republicans like Yaw.

“I am glad the governor agrees that Pennsylvania must continue leading the way on energy development and his plan to decarbonize our industrial sector using clean hydrogen is an excellent complement to my own legislation that would establish our state as a hub for carbon capture and sequestration,” Yaw said in a press release.

In March, Yaw announced he planned to introduce legislation to create a legal and regulatory framework in Pennsylvania for carbon capture and sequestration projects, as The Center Square previously reported.

“We must prioritize energy and climate policies that work in harmony and boost economic growth, create jobs and make Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work for decades to come,” Yaw said.

However, carbon capture technology has been costly, with many federally funded projects failing. Environmental groups, such as PennFuture, criticized the RCHH project as “greenwashing,” a “scheme by the fossil fuel industry to draw in taxpayer dollars and perpetuate fracking.”

Staff Reporter

Anthony Hennen is a reporter for The Center Square. Previously, he worked for Philadelphia Weekly and the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. He is managing editor of Expatalachians, a journalism project focused on the Appalachian region.