October 28, 2021

Cassidy, Coons, Cornyn Unveil Infrastructure Package to Support Hydrogen Technologies for Emissions Reduction

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Chris Coons (D-DE) and John Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative, a package of three bills to support the adoption of hydrogen in energy intensive sectors. The bills are also cosponsored by Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM).

Hydrogen is a high-energy fuel source that does not emit greenhouse gases at the point of use, properties that allow it to be used in intense and long duration applications. These traits make it an attractive fuel source, especially for hard-to-abate sectors like shipping and industry.  As recent reports from Clean Air Task Force, Resources for the Future, and Energy Futures Initiative have made clear, hydrogen is a sound solution for reducing emissions in sectors such as marine shipping, iron and steel, and industrial process heating.

“These research and grant programs for ports, shipping, industry, and hydrogen infrastructure are needed investments in the future of energy,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Louisiana is already an energy powerhouse. These bills will allow Louisiana to continue to be a global leader.”

“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source, but we lack the infrastructure to reap its benefits for a wide range of industries,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation would help make hydrogen more accessible and cost-effective so businesses and consumers can utilize this reliable energy resource.” 

Years of R&D and recent private investment have brought a number of hydrogen-powered technologies closer to commercialization, and governments around the world have financed expansive hydrogen networks to integrate it as a carbon-free fuel source. In the last year, hydrogen has seen a resurgence of interest in the policy community, and there exists significant momentum behind proposals to provide domestic federal policy support.

The bipartisan Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative is comprised of three components that address high-value, end-use applications and the buildout of infrastructure needed to transport, store, and deliver hydrogen, thereby providing critical support at multiple stages of the hydrogen value chain. The new initiative is focused on applications in energy intensive sectors for which hydrogen is particularly well-suited, namely maritime and heavy industry, and the infrastructure that is needed to get hydrogen from where it is produced to where it can be used and stored. Priority is given to projects that will maximize emissions reductions to deliver the greatest environmental benefits. By lowering cost barriers and first-mover risks, the package enables projects and partnerships that will move the U.S. closer to meeting the demands of a robust hydrogen economy.

The legislation included in the Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative would:

  • Promote hydrogen- and ammonia-fueled equipment at ports and in shipping applications.
  • Support commercial scale demonstration projects for end-use industrial applications of hydrogen, including in the production of steel, cement, glass, and chemicals.
  • Create a pilot Hydrogen Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (HIFIA) program to provide grants and flexible, low-interest loans for retrofitted or new hydrogen transport infrastructure projects. This bill also includes a study to address outstanding questions related to technical requirements for transporting and storing hydrogen as well as an assessment of jurisdiction over siting, construction, safety, and regulation for hydrogen transport infrastructure.

Earlier this year, Cassidy and Coons introduced the nation’s first comprehensive CO2 infrastructure bill.  The Storing CO2 And Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act will help develop CCS infrastructure as a critical means of reducing emissions of CO2 – or carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas – while creating regional economic opportunities and jobs. As a part of the bipartisan infrastructure deal, Cassidy also helped establish a program at the Department of Energy to establish four hydrogen hubs that help create a network of energy and industrial companies focused on hydrogen development, creation and use.

The package is endorsed by Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Action, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Chemours, Linde, Lanzatech, Clean Air Task Force, RMI, Third Way, ClearPath, Air Liquide, Industrial Innovation Initiative (I3), and Cummins.

“As many countries begin to include hydrogen in their decarbonization efforts, a global race to supply clean hydrogen has begun — and America has a tremendous opportunity,” said Rich Powell, ClearPath executive director. “Hydrogen has huge potential to connect sectors of the economy to maximize resources in the overall clean energy system. Smart policies like this hydrogen innovation initiative will help accelerate deployment and necessary infrastructure.” 

“Hydrogen will play a vital role in domestic and international efforts to reduce emissions in hard-to-abate sectors,” said David Hart, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation at ITIF. “The Coons-Cornyn Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative is critical bipartisan legislation that will support the burgeoning clean economy and position the United States as an innovation leader in the world.”

“On behalf of our more than 20,000 U.S. employees, Air Liquide thanks Senator Coons and Senator Cornyn for introducing the Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative. This is an example of the type of American leadership needed to spur a Clean Energy Economy that is essential to achieve a zero-carbon future. Air Liquide, with its headquarters in Houston, Texas, is committed to supporting the energy economy.  This legislation provides support for advancing hydrogen technology and uses, including key technologies developed by Air Liquide at our Innovation Campus in Delaware,” said Joe Fawell, Vice President for Government Affairs at Air Liquide. “By leveraging hydrogen’s versatility, the Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative will encourage the adoption of hydrogen technologies in those sectors where hydrogen offers an efficient and effective path to decarbonization, including ports and industrial sectors. As a leader in the hydrogen market for over 50 years, this Initiative will also advance Air Liquide’s ability to develop key hydrogen technologies, help create high paying jobs, and lower the CO2 emissions across many sectors.” 

“Innovative uses for hydrogen to address hard-to-abate emissions from industry, heating, and transportation are vital to achieving net-zero by midcentury throughout multiple sectors,” said Gabrielle Habeeb, Project Manager at Industrial Innovation Initiative (I3). “The Industrial Innovation Initiative supports the introduction of this legislation, which would fund several hydrogen end-uses as well as transportation, storage, and fueling infrastructure. Accelerating the deployment of low- and zero- carbon hydrogen will help build the economy necessary to reach industrial emissions reduction goals.”