At least $925 million of federal funding is coming to the Appalachia Region for a new clean-energy hydrogen hub that's expected to create 3,000 permanent jobs and reduce carbon emissions by millions of tons per year.

On Friday, the Biden administration announced $7 billion in federal funding for clean Hydrogen projects nationwide. 

According to a release from the US Department of Energy, the $7 billion will go towards creating 7 "Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs" across the country.

One of those hubs, the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2), will be coming to Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Of the $7 billion allocated for the Hydrogen Hubs, $925 million is expected to be allocated for ARCH2.

The Hydrogen Hubs, including ARCH2, will not be one standalone facility, but rather a network of dozens if not hundreds of facilities spanning dozens of counties and several states. 

The hope is to create a better procurement, processing, and distribution for hydrogen, an alternative to petroleum and natural gas which, when burned, produces only water as a biproduct.

For ARCH2, the hope is that the hub will reduce CO2 emissions by nine million metric tons each year, the equivalent of the annual emissions of more than two million gas-powered cars.

The project also helps to restore much needed jobs to a region which has declined in the decades since steel mill, manufacturing facility, and coal mine closures wreaked havoc on middle class populations. 

To those ends, ARCH2 is expected to create more than 18,000 jobs while facilities are under construction, and 3,000 permanent jobs once the project is complete. 

A map on the website for ARCH2 says that the Mahoning Valley can expect a few of these projects in our local communities. The map shows Mahoning and Trumbull counties both being "impacted by" one project, while Columbiana County will be impacted by three.

Under the map, ARCH2's website says the "projects will integrate clean hydrogen production and end-use with connecting infrastructure and existing regional assets," meaning the projects encompass every portion of the hydrogen production, transport, and consumption process.

The Department of Energy website says that the development of ARCH2 will be overseen by Battelle, a science and technology company which says they aim to "translate scientific discovery and technology advances into societal benefits."

In a statement to 21 News, Battelle President and CEO Lou Von Thaer said “We are deeply grateful to have been selected for this important work and are excited to mature this project. Battelle was founded on the mission of using science to improve the world and working toward a clean energy economy certainly fits in with that goal...ARCH2 will create good paying jobs in a region disproportionately impacted by the loss of extractive industry and will help utilize abundant natural resources of the region for value added products.”

Other companies who are members of the Project Management team on the ARCH2 project are Allegheny Science & Technology, GTI Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and TRC. 

Several companies are also partnered with ARCH2 for various projects, including Air Liquide, Clearway, CNX Resources, Dominion Energy, Empire Diversified Energy, EQT, Fidelis New Energy, First Mode, Hog Lick Aggregates, Hope Gas, Independence Hydrogen, KeyState Natural Gas Synthesis, Marathon Petroleum, Plug, TC Energy, and Chemours. 

More information on those companies can be found here

ARCH2 has an executive leadership team of five members:

  • Mitch Carmichael, West Virginia Secretary of Economic Development
  • Arria Hines, CEO of Allegheny Science & Technology
  • Don Lamonaca, Business Line Director at Battelle
  • Kristine Wiley, Vice President at Low Carbon Energy Solutions
  • Rob Wingo, Executive Vice President of Corporate Ventures for EQT

The other six hubs will be in the following locations:

  • California Hydrogen Hub - California ($1.2bn)
  • Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub - Texas ($1.2bn)
  • Heartland Hydrogen Hub - Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota ($925mn)
  • Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub - Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey ($750mn)
  • Midwest Hydrogen Hub - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan ($1bn)
  • Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub - Washington, Oregon, Montana ($1bn)

21 News has reached out to the Department of Energy and the ARCH2 team for information on specific projects and expected impacts for the Mahoning Valley. Stay tuned to 21 News on air or online for the latest information on the ARCH2 project.