Five other Northeast states and the state of Massachusetts have worked together to form a public-private partnership to get federal money to build a clean hydrogen hub in the region.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources are working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and agencies in Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Maine to compete for $8 billion in funding from the U.S. for hydrogen hubs.
Energy Department. The awards should be made public in September or October.
Massport also signed the memorandum of understanding to apply for the money, which would make the Northeast one of four regional clean hydrogen hubs funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and designated by the federal government.
Last month, Gov. Maura Healey promised that no one will “compete harder as your governor than me” for the many federal dollars that are now available.
At a Monday visit to Advent Technologies in Charlestown, the new global headquarters of a fuel cell and hydrogen technology company that signed the hydrogen hub memorandum, Healey praised “human and intellectual capital” as one of the state’s main economic drivers.
She said, “I really want Massachusetts to do well and make the most of our knowledge-based economy.”
Healey said that when it comes to clean energy and climate solutions, she wants to be “the most aggressive governor in the country.” She sees the development of clean energy as a way to fight climate change and meet the state’s climate goals.
She also sees it as a way to grow the workforce at a time when a large number of industries are having trouble finding workers.
The unusually high natural gas prices this winter are also a backdrop for the regional partnership’s plan to build new clean technology.
Since the Northeast has less access to fossil fuels than other parts of the country, home heating costs are usually higher in the Northeast than in other parts of the country. This winter, families were hit especially hard by events that had never happened before.
In the meantime, Democrats in power aren’t very interested in expanding access to natural gas. This is because the state is legally required to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Healey said that in her proposed budget for fiscal year 2024 and a supplemental budget bill, she asked the state to give three times as much money to MassCEC.
She also gave 1% of her $54.3 billion plan to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. This is in addition to the expected $1 billion in new surtax funds for education and transportation.
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Healey said, “Massachusetts has a lot of human and intellectual capital, research innovation, and know-how.
As governor, I want to support that in every way and help our companies that are starting up here, as well as our researchers who are working with commercial investors to make technologies and help build a really strong economy.”
During her tour of the Advent building, the governor saw a generator that uses methyl alcohol to make electricity, among other tech products. The company says that the fuel cell unit is up to 10 times better than thermoelectric generators and 5 times better than generators that use an internal combustion engine.
Advent’s designs are based on military standards, and the company says the methanol generator can be moved quickly and set up wherever it is needed.
The company also says that the technology would work well in the civilian world, where it could be used with solar panels to keep providing power even when there isn’t much sunlight or when it’s cloudy.
Healey said, “I think the whole use of cells, whether they’re used to support telecom operations, soldiers in the field, or vehicles, is amazing. There are so many ways this technology could be used, and I’m really glad they chose to be here in Boston.”
Healey’s administration is interested in more than just the hydrogen hub partnership when it comes to technology in the region.
In March, the governor said that the Northeast Microelectronics Coalition, with help from her government and the MassTech Collaborative, had sent a plan to the federal government to make the area a center for developing micro technologies.
This coalition wants to use the recently passed CHIPS Act to get money from the federal Department of Defense to build a semiconductor and microelectronics industry in the Northeast.
In addition to Massachusetts state agencies and NYSERDA, more than 60 “clean hydrogen ecosystem partners” have joined the hydrogen power initiative to compete for funds together.
These partners include 14 private companies, 12 utilities, 20 hydrogen technology original equipment manufacturers, 10 universities, 7 non-profits, two transportation companies, and the other five states.