Who We Are
The Midwestern Hydrogen Partnership is a collaboration of industrial, academic, research institutions, government, and other interested stakeholders that work cooperatively to enable the Midwest to address the challenges, barriers, and opportunities that can enable a prosperous hydrogen economy in the Midwest.
The Midwestern Hydrogen Partnership advances and promotes the development and adoption of hydrogen technologies to enable clean, secure, and resilient energy sources, and create economic development opportunities throughout the Midwest.
Why Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
There is a growing worldwide interest in developing and deploying new clean technologies that utilize hydrogen and fuel cells to combat global warming. Fuel cell-powered cars and buses are beginning to appear on the roads in California, Europe, and Asia. With increasing concerns about the environment, new markets for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are developing in industries that previously did not deploy these technologies and are difficult to decarbonize by other means, such as rail, maritime, aviation, steel production and industrial heating. With the development of these markets, it is projected that hydrogen could become a $130-$170 billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. by 2050. These emerging hydrogen and fuel cells markets present an opportunity to stimulate economic growth and improve the environmental health of the Midwest.
Why a Midwest Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Partnership
The Midwest, collectively as a region, offers tremendous opportunities for synergies between energy and water resources, hydrogen producers and fuel cell manufacturers, and consumers of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies that individual states cannot provide.
The coalition can serve as a resource that provides relevant information, and identifies and links opportunities between different stakeholders in the Midwest, including state, county and city officials, industry players and interested customers, and act as a liaison between the Midwestern states and the coalitions in other states and globally. The coalition can explore opportunities and synergies with other public and private initiatives that can benefit the plans of Midwestern states to decarbonize and spur economic growth.
There is a lack of knowledge and awareness of hydrogen and fuel cells, their benefits, safety, and hazards among the general public and many public officials and decision-makers in the Midwest. Unlike California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and other states, most Midwestern states lack a roadmap or plan for how to develop, integrate, and take advantage of the emerging hydrogen economy.
There has been a lack of deployment of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies in the Midwest. There are no fuel cell cars on the roads, no hydrogen fueling stations, and a lack of fuel cell companies. There has been limited deployment of fuel cell buses in the region.
Opportunities for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Midwest
The Midwest has the intellectual capital, manufacturing capabilities, infrastructure and human capital necessary to compete for and win the jobs that will be created.
The Midwest is home to some of the top public and private research universities in the world as well as three U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories.
The Midwest has a large manufacturing base that could rapidly adapt to manufacturing products for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. It is a major manufacturing center for cars and light-duty trucks with 75% of the cars and 60% of light-duty trucks currently assembled in the Midwest. As the transportation sector becomes increasingly more electrified, new opportunities will emerge for manufacturing fuel cells and electrolyzers to use and produce hydrogen, and other supporting technologies.
The Midwest has abundant resources for producing CO2-free hydrogen such as wind and nuclear power. As such, the Midwest is well positioned to capitalize on the emerging hydrogen and fuel cell markets.
The Midwest is home to many highly skilled, but displaced, workers from the coal mining and coal power generation sectors. Many of these workers would be excellent candidates for employment in the emerging hydrogen economy.
Midwest Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Activities
In 2021, Champaign-Urbana MTD will welcome its first zero emission buses. Two 20-year-old diesel buses will be replaced with zero emission hydrogen fuel cell electric buses. The new buses will run on hydrogen and emit only water vapor. MTD will produce the hydrogen to fuel the buses on site using an electrolyzer, with the long-term goal of 100% renewable production.
The Midwestern Hydrogen Partnership aims to attract the attention of industries and businesses to the Midwest opportunities for hydrogen and fuel cells and promote deployment of hydrogen and fuel cells in the Midwest. Goals for the partnership include:
- Develop a Midwest-specific regional plan to grow the hydrogen economy by leveraging the region’s unique renewable resources; its intellectual talent; its major national role in manufacturing, agriculture, electrical power generation, and chemical production; and as a key hub in the national transportation and shipping networks.
- Facilitate communication of the needs of new and existing hydrogen and fuel cell technology stakeholders to researchers, technology developers, and technology providers.
- Improve energy security and resiliency in the Midwest by leveraging the current infrastructure while increasing the deployment and utilization of clean energy sources using hydrogen as an energy carrier or energy storage medium, and for reliable power generation via fuel cells and gas turbines.
- Spur economic growth and job creation in the Midwest through increased deployment of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies that use regionally produced renewable and nuclear energy.
- Retain high-paying jobs in the nuclear power industry by utilizing nuclear power for hydrogen production leading to a more consistent market for nuclear electricity that allows profitable operation of nuclear power plants.
- Improve air quality in the Midwest by reducing CO2 and other gas emissions from the transportation and power generating sectors that currently rely on fossil fuels by enabling a higher penetration of renewable energy while sustaining existing nuclear power generating capacity through the deployment of clean hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
- Raise public awareness of the benefits of hydrogen and fuel cells through education and outreach programs.
- Facilitate communication and collaboration amongst the hydrogen and fuel cell community in the Midwest.
- Facilitate development of policy rules, standards and codes for adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technology.
- Facilitate adoption of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies through demonstration projects in the Midwest.
- Leverage the Midwest’s investment capital and entrepreneur/incubator community to develop the hydrogen infrastructure, expand hydrogen and fuel cell manufacturing capabilities, and create a supply chain in the Midwest.
- Assist states in achieving their clean energy and climate change mitigation goals.
- Collaborate and coordinate with other regional hydrogen and fuel cell coalitions to promote hydrogen and fuel cell technologies across the U.S.