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Heinrich Introduces Legislation To Advance Clean Hydrogen Future

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, introduced the Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act of 2021. This legislation would establish a research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) program to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of producing hydrogen using electrolyzers. Electrolyzers use electricity to split water and create hydrogen, with no greenhouse gas emissions from the process if they are powered using clean electricity.

Senator Heinrich’s legislation provides a five-year expanded authorization that integrates and strengthens U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) electrolyzer RDD&D, with an explicit focus on making scalable electrolyzers more durable, efficient, and affordable. 

“Hydrogen will play a critical role in the clean energy transition and reaching zero carbon emissions, especially in parts of the U.S. economy that cannot be easily electrified. Today, hydrogen is mostly produced chemically from natural gas, which also produces carbon dioxide, but there’s a better, cleaner solution: electrolyzers,” said Heinrich. “That’s why I’m introducing this legislation to increase our ability to create clean hydrogen and reach our climate goals in New Mexico, and across America. I will continue fighting for renewable energy solutions, and to make the state of New Mexico the nation’s center of excellence for clean hydrogen production, research, and workforce development.”

Electrolyzers can range in size from small, appliance-size equipment that is well-suited for small-scale distributed clean hydrogen production to large-scale, central production facilities that could be tied directly to renewable, nuclear or other non-greenhouse-gas-emitting forms of electricity production.

Hydrogen can serve as a sustainable fuel for transportation and as input to produce electricity or heat for homes. Hydrogen can also add value to agriculture and industry, other sectors of the economy, and support a domestic manufacturing renaissance. 

Senator Heinrich’s Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act has received support from clean energy industry leaders like the American Clean Power Association (ACP), American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Plug Power, and the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition (CHFC). 

“Green hydrogen is an exciting clean energy technology with promise across a wide range of important use cases. Like all emerging technologies, green hydrogen does not yet benefit from the scale or innovation that comes from multiple cycles of private sector deployment. By providing seed funding for critical early-stage research, development, demonstration and deployment, Sen. Heinrich’s Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act will help jump-start that innovation, improve efficiency, increase durability and lower costs so that green hydrogen can more quickly realize its full potential as part of the clean energy transition,” said Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“The Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition (CHFC) is encouraged by Senator Heinrich’s support of RD&D to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of electrolytic hydrogen through the introduction of the Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act. The CHFC formed around the principle of supporting resource-agnostic, technology-neutral policy approaches to hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilization that have the potential to support U.S. decarbonization objectives across industries and sectors. Hydrogen produced with renewable and low carbon energy via electrolysis is one of several clean hydrogen production pathways that must be pursued in order to unlock a clean hydrogen economy at scale. CHFC members promote all forms of clean hydrogen production so long as it results in significantly reduced, net-zero, or net-negative carbon dioxide emissions and contributes to economywide decarbonization. We look forward to working with Senator Heinrich and his Senate colleagues to ensure that RD&D funding and program direction in support of clean hydrogen is included in any legislative package that is considered by Congress,” said Erik Mason, Chair of the Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition. 

Senator Heinrich has called on the Biden administration to recognize New Mexico’s unique strengths and potential to host clean energy development. From abundant wind, solar, and geothermal energy that facilitate zero-emission hydrogen production to the state’s outstanding research universities and national laboratories – New Mexico is ideally positioned to grow a powerhouse hydrogen economy, producing jobs across the state. Senator Heinrich has also encouraged government officials and energy industry leaders to promote the manufacturing and deployment of clean hydrogen solutions.

A copy of the Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act can be found here.