CHEEN, Vayo. – The four states of the Rockies will work together to develop ways to make the world’s most abundant element, hydrogen, more affordable and useful as a clean fuel for cars, trucks and trains, state governors announced Thursday.
Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming plan to build a “hydrogen hub” somewhere in the region with $ 8 billion in recently approved federal infrastructure funding for four or more such regional centers in the United States.
“This coalition represents a shared vision of the future of hydrogen in the Western region,” said Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon in a joint statement with Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, Michel Lujan Grisham of New Mexico and Spencer Cox of Utah.
Under the agreement signed on Wednesday, the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub will have facilities in all four states that are scheduled to be handed over to the U.S. Department of Energy.
The goals will include “economic development and” the latest science, research and technology for the cost-effective production, transportation and use of pure hydrogen, “the agreement said.
Hydrogen has long been considered a rich clean fuel. Companies, including major car manufacturers develop cars, trucks, buses and trains running on hydrogen fuel.
Hydrogen can be obtained from water by electric current and when burned emits as a by-product only water vapor. Theoretically, fuel could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, depending on how it is produced.
As with electric vehicles, the hydrogen potential was limited by infrastructure. The lack of gas stations limits the market for hydrogen-powered cars. Few hydrogen-powered vehicles limit investment in hydrogen production and transportation.
In New Mexico, Luhan Grisham, a Democrat, amid criticism aggressively called for private investment and federal dollars to produce and distribute hydrogen.
“Hydrogen is coming in all over the country,” Lujan Grisham said last week at the closing of the state’s annual legislative session. “My job is to make sure we have the right guarantees and efforts.”
Critics point out that the hydrogen that is now being produced is not green, carbon-free and unlimited. Currently, almost all hydrogen commercially produced in the United States comes not from water but from natural gas. according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
While advocates say the use of fossil fuels to produce hydrogen can now help further the development of clean industry, environmentalists are skeptical.
“Essentially, it’s a push to expand oil and gas development. Greater oil and gas development is in stark contrast to the need to tackle the climate crisis and drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, ”said Jeremy Nichols of the WildEarth Guardians environmental group in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming rank seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively, in land-based gas production in the United States. Utah is also a significant gas-producing state, according to the Office of Energy Information.
Associated Press writer Morgan Lee in Santa Fe, New Mexico. contributed to this report.
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