October 16, 2023

ARCH2 Hydrogen Hub defied the odds

West Virginia was a longshot to be chosen as one of seven regional hydrogen hubs to receive nearly $1 billion in federal funding. Despite an emphasis on locating the hubs near international ports, the Appalachia Regional Clean Hydrogen team won over Biden administration officials during the six-hour in-person interview.

“The level of collaboration, the level of mutual respect, the teamwork between the industry, academia, labor, and the communities that is something over six hours you cannot fake,” said David Crane, the United States Under Secretary for Infrastructure.

United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, along with Crane, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelly Moore Capito were joined by energy industry leaders in Morgantown on Monday to celebrate the regional hydrogen hub and its economic potential.

“Here you have renewable energy as input for the development of hydrogen. You have landfill gas for the development of hydrogen and you have natural gas,” Secretary Granholm said while explaining why West Virginia was a good fit for the initiative.

The ARCH2 hub will extend into several West Virginia communities and is meant to take advantage of the region’s enormous supplies of natural gas. The natural gas would be used as a feedstock in hydrogen production.

Granholm described ten production sites across the state to extract hydrogen from natural gas that would be connected through a series of pipelines. Production nodes are expected to be located in Belle in Kanawha County, Follansbee in Brooke County, Washington in Wood County, Point Pleasant in Mason County, and Fairmont in Marion County. The ARCH2 hub will be headquartered in Morgantown.

Granholm emphasized all the production sites, the pipelines and other infrastructure required will create up to 20,000 jobs across West Virginia.

“This is private sector led and government enabled. For every dollar that the government puts in there are six dollars being put in by the private sector over all these hubs,” said Granholm.

The funding for the hubs is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed Congress in 2021.

David McKinley, former First District Congressman, was a key part of the crafting and passing the legislation. His support of the legislation was used against him in the 2022 Republican Primary Election and McKinley ultimately lost the nomination to current Congressman Alex Mooney. However, McKinley does not regret his decision to support the bill.

“It is a comprehensive bill and I was honored to be in the House when it came over. Yeah, it cost me my job, but I’m glad I did it because this is all about West Virginia,” McKinley said.

The H2Hubs, as they are sometimes called, are expected to collectively produce three million metric tons of hydrogen annually.

“The technology has been developed for many years,” said Manchin. “We’ve got to take to second, third, and fourth generation very quickly and that’s what we’re going to do.”

By:  Dave Wilson
Source: Metro News