Illinois Tech Assists Energy Leaders in Creating a Cleaner, More Sustainable Energy Source
The Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen (MachH2), a multistate private-public coalition comprising of more than 70 clean energy leaders, including Illinois Institute of Technology, was selected by the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) to develop a regional clean hydrogen production and distribution hub (H2Hub). This is part of a $7 billion initiative funded under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act aimed at launching seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) across the nation.
Funded by President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the H2Hubs will accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of clean hydrogen—helping to generate clean, dispatchable power, create a new form of energy storage, and decarbonize heavy industry and transportation. Together, they will also reduce 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from end-uses each year—an amount roughly equivalent to combined annual emissions of 5.5 million gasoline-powered cars—and create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs across the country while supporting healthier communities and strengthening America’s energy security.
“This substantial funding from the federal government is a ringing endorsement of the innovative progress MachH2 is poised to make, and Illinois Tech is proud and thrilled to be part of this important investment in the future of green technology and clean energy,” says Illinois Tech Provost Kenneth T. Christensen. “As the only technology-focused university in Chicago, Illinois Tech is uniquely positioned to advance cutting-edge innovations and foster a skilled workforce for our sustainable energy future.”
Members of the alliance will combine resources and expertise to:
- Leverage existing clean, zero-carbon energy resources and transportation infrastructure to establish hydrogen production and distribution at scale
- Incorporate extensive community engagement and advance public health, job growth, and contribute to the administration’s Justice 40 objectives
- Advance hydrogen technology and infrastructure in collaboration with national labs, universities, and top research and technology institutions
- Foster the creation and expansion of workforce development programs to support high-paying jobs produced by a clean energy economy
- Demonstrate the market demand and scalability of clean hydrogen to decarbonize the economy on a regional and national basis
“This is a historic day for MachH2 and the entire Midwest,” says Dorothy Davidson, CEO of MachH2. “Our hub and the region bring an unparalleled supply of clean energy, significant regional hydrogen demand, heavy industry, and an ideal location at the crossroads of America—all of which were recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s selection of MachH2. Our hub will scale the production and delivery of abundant, reliable, and increasingly affordable clean hydrogen to support our national climate goals in the coming decade, all while creating jobs and lifting up underrepresented communities that have been overburdened by pollution.”
“I couldn’t be prouder that once again, Illinois and the Midwest will be leading the way in equity-conscious clean energy development through the construction of a major hydrogen production and distribution hub,” says Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker. “When I signed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act in 2019, it was with this sort of collaborative, economically sound manufacturing and expansion in mind, and we are seeing the results of those efforts play out every day. We’re grateful that the Biden administration has recognized our regional strength in workforce, education, and innovation, and look forward to working with MachH2 and our neighboring states to continue this project.”
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. When made with clean energy, it is an essential resource in meeting our nation’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The hub will employ electrolysis technology to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water. As an energy source, hydrogen does not emit carbon and can be used to reduce emissions from multiple difficult-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy, including aviation, steelmaking, agriculture, and long-haul transportation.
Hydrogen projects already proposed by alliance members will support an estimated 4,500 construction jobs and 400 permanent positions once complete. Total construction spending is estimated at nearly $4 billion, including $1.7 billion in wages and $65 million to $70 million in state income taxes. The 400 permanent positions will generate an estimated $60 million in wages annually—or roughly $900 million over the 15-year operating life of the projects—and an additional $35 million to $40 million in state income taxes. More projects may be added as the hub continues to develop, leading to further economic benefits for the region.
Made up of more than 70 public and private entities representing every phase in the hydrogen value chain, MachH2 members are united in a shared vision to create an immediately scalable hydrogen hub in the Midwest that deploys the region’s abundant carbon-free energy to create a clean hydrogen economy and reduce emissions across multiple heavy emitting sectors. Visit the list of alliance members for more information.