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Beshear working with Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub to bring investment, jobs to KY

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday announced he was working to bring hydrogen investments and jobs to Kentucky by working with fellow governors in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to support the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2).

“Kentucky’s leadership in the automotive and logistics sectors position us as a natural location for economic development in hydrogen,” Gov. Beshear said. “We are looking forward to working with our Appalachian region governors and industry partners to continue to shape a hydrogen economy in Kentucky and across this region.”

A hydrogen gas pump (Image from Creative Commons)

Hydrogen can be made through fossil, renewable and nuclear resources. The energy density and energy-carrying capacity of hydrogen make it an attractive fuel option for transportation, aviation and industrial uses, as well as electricity generation.

The ARCH2 team comprises entities with operations across the Appalachian region spanning the hydrogen chain along with energy technology organizations, including the National Energy Technology Laboratory, Battelle, GTI Energy, Allegheny Science & Technology, consultants, academic institutions, community organizations and nongovernmental organizations that will provide commercial, technical and programmatic leadership for the development and buildout of the hub.

The Appalachian region provides significant existing resources for ARCH2, including the critical infrastructure required for low-cost natural gas production and storage, existing pipelines and transportation networks and proximity to markets in the Midwest and Northeast, as well as a highly skilled energy workforce.

With its robust infrastructure, strong chemical and manufacturing base, extensive freight and pipeline network and underground storage areas, Kentucky has the energy infrastructure to support hydrogen production and distribution and hydrogen vehicle infrastructure.

Kentucky is at the epicenter 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 September, Gov. Beshear joined governors of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin in creating a Midwest Hydrogen Coalition (M-H2 Coalition). The coalition provides a regional framework for a strong hydrogen market that will spur new industries and good-paying jobs, promote energy resilience and improve public health by reducing pollution.

Recently, a newly formed coalition that includes utility companies Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Louisville Gas & Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. (LG&E and KU), Southern Co. and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), along with Battelle and others, announced plans to pursue federal financial support for a Southeast Hydrogen Hub.

In 2021, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky announced a $461 million upgrade to its Georgetown manufacturing plant. Starting this year, it will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell (FC) modules destined for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty commercial trucks.

The state’s Regional Hydrogen Hub Workgroup was formed earlier this year to develop projects around the use of hydrogen, such as natural gas blending or transportation fuel. Hydrogen is one component of Kentucky’s energy strategy, KYE3.

“This strategy will move us ahead by bringing together job makers, energy providers and environmental stewards with groups to create a sustainable energy infrastructure,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.

In July, Kentucky Interstate Highways 64, 65 and 75 were approved by the Federal Highway Administration as future hydrogen transportation 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,” Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray said. “We’re looking to the future, and alternative fuels will offer consumers more choices to power their drives. Kentucky is already the capital of electric vehicle battery production, and now with three interstates designated as hydrogen fuel corridors, is ideally positioned for a leadership role.”

Governor’s Office

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