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LSU to Support Tri-State Hydrogen Hub

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The Governors of Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas released a joint announcement on March 10 that the three states have entered into a bipartisan partnership “to establish a regional hub for development, production and use of clean hydrogen as fuel and manufacturing feedstock.”

The agreement signifies the states’ intention to compete as a unit for funding from the Department of Energy established in the 2021 Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act. The act directs the DOE to fund regional clean hydrogen hubs – defined as a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity.

“The state of Louisiana, as well as our partner states in this effort, have a long history of producing and transporting fuels and feedstocks in liquid and gas forms, as well as significant population of industrial end users with potential to make use of hydrogen as fuel or as part of manufacturing processes,” Governor Edwards said. “This is an extension of Louisiana’s ongoing efforts in diversifying the makeup of our energy sources and ensuring an economically and environmentally balanced approach to cleaner use of traditional fuels and transition to new potential energy sources.”

Key to this relationship is the collaboration of the states’ top research universities which are joining with industry, state and local government, non-governmental organizations, community stakeholders and others to support the research, workforce development and execution of the hydrogen initiative.

“As Louisiana’s flagship university, LSU plays a key part in the hydrogen hub initiative as our faculty provide technical expertise, cutting-edge research and new ideas as well as training the next generation of professionals who will continue to shape the future of energy,” said LSU Vice President of Research & Economic Development Samuel J. Bentley.

As the state’s experts in subsurface, geological and geophysical analysis, LSU and Louisiana Geological Survey have received $1 million in funding from the state legislature to begin a state-wide carbon sequestration study. Researchers are identifying and mapping subsurface geology, carbon dioxide point sources, well density and major pipeline infrastructure throughout the state, which will provide industry with unprecedented science-based insight for potential carbon capture, use and storage projects.

“In addition, LSU will lead a group of Louisiana research universities, which include University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Xavier University of Louisiana and Southern University and A&M College, for the hydrogen hub initiative. We look forward to supporting the state in this exciting opportunity,” Bentley said.

Louisiana as well as Oklahoma and Arkansas are perfectly situated to demonstrate the entire value chain of hydrogen and uniquely situated to tackle the hard-to-decarbonize sectors like industrial, manufacturing, and transportation. The partnership builds upon existing advantages, such as an inland seaport system that runs from Oklahoma through Arkansas and down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, existing intermodal rail, existing pipeline infrastructure that runs from Oklahoma through Arkansas to the Gulf of Mexico, and some of the most valuable interstate freight highways in the United States. More importantly, hydrogen is already available for demonstration with new large clean hydrogen production hubs scheduled to come on line in the near future.

Hydrogen is presently used in many manufacturing processes and has increasingly gained interest as a clean-burning fuel source that could help reduce carbon emissions from manufacturing, heavy industry and long haul trucking. Currently, a great deal of hydrogen is produced in the partner states through separating methane into its components of hydrogen and carbon. While this process still produces waste carbon, the process can be made much cleaner by capturing the waste carbon and injecting it into permanent underground storage zones. There has also been growing interest and investment in making the electrolysis of water to release hydrogen more commercially available.

The three states have been focused on hydrogen as an additional resource in their all-of-the-above approach to a diversified and clean energy portfolio. In late 2021, a hydrogen-from-natural-gas project with carbon capture and sequestration was announced in Louisiana and a large electrolytic production hub was announced in Oklahoma.

“Here in Louisiana, we’ve already seen and participated in action to produce more hydrogen through cleaner processes, and with a partnership of our state with Arkansas and Oklahoma sharing information at the level of state government, between our research institutions, and between our industry groups, we expect to be able to accelerate progress in both the production and use of hydrogen,” Governor Edwards said.

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