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Could hydrogen be the next big market it Kentucky? Beshear says he’s working to bring investments, jobs

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday he is working to bring hydrogen investments and jobs to Kentucky by working with fellow governors in six states to advance a hydrogen market, supply chain and workforce development across the Midwest region.

Gov. Beshear joins governors of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin in creating a Midwest Hydrogen Coalition. The coalition provides a regional framework for a strong hydrogen market that is hoped will spur new industries and good-paying jobs, promote energy resilience and improve public health by reducing pollution.

Gov. Andy Beshear is working with governors throughout the Midwest to build a hydrogen market. (Photo by Tom Latek, Kentucky Today)

“Kentucky’s robust infrastructure, strong chemical, and manufacturing base, along with our leadership in the automotive and logistics sectors position us as a natural location for economic development in hydrogen,” he said. “We are looking forward to working with our Midwest and local industry partners to build a hydrogen economy in Kentucky.”

Hydrogen can be produced through fossil, renewable and nuclear resources, according to the Governor’s office. The energy density and energy carrying capacity of hydrogen make it an attractive cleaner fuel option for transportation, aviation and industrial uses, as well as electricity generation applications.

With its extensive freight and pipeline network and underground storage areas, the state has the energy infrastructure to support, enhance or expand hydrogen production, hydrogen distribution and hydrogen vehicle infrastructure. Kentucky is also uniquely located at the center of a 34-state distribution area for shipping products by truck or rail across the Eastern United States, and is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population.

In July, Kentucky Interstate highways 64, 65, and 75 were approved by the Federal Highway Administration as hydrogen transportation corridors, supporting the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure on those key freight corridors. The approval of these three corridors signals the importance of transportation connectivity to a nationwide hydrogen economy.

“The automotive industry is undergoing fundamental change,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “We’re looking to the future, and alternative fuels will offer consumers more choices to power their drives. Kentucky, already becoming the capital of electric vehicle battery production, and now with three interstates designated as hydrogen fuel corridors, is ideally positioned for a leadership role.”

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