Wednesday, October 5, 2022 - 10:01 am

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced today he has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the governors of Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin to develop a regional clean hydrogen hub to help meet the nation’s clean energy, transportation and agricultural needs.

Under the MOU, the four states agree to develop a proposal for a Heartland Hydrogen Hub, with the goal of obtaining federal funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s $7 billion program announced last week to create regional clean hydrogen (H2Hubs) across the country. The funding is part of a larger hydrogen hub program included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden.

In addition to Burgum, the MOU was signed by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers.

“By bringing together our expertise in agriculture and energy production, we can create a world-class hydrogen hub and do even more as states to feed and fuel the nation and the world,” Burgum said. “We are grateful to these states and their governors for their participation, collaboration and shared interest in American energy production, U.S. energy security, job creation, economic development and environmental stewardship. North Dakota is pleased to help lead these efforts as part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy and our focus on innovation over regulation to meet our nation’s changing energy needs.”

The Heartland Hydrogen Hub will incorporate clean hydrogen projects from various energy sources across the participating states. North Dakota, through the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, will lead the effort to develop the application in collaboration with industry partners and state coordinators from all four states. The states also have agreed to identify opportunities to collaborate with tribal nations.

The EERC is home to the National Center for Hydrogen Technology and has a long history of developing, testing and integrating technologies for the production and uses of hydrogen, including experience in the production of hydrogen from both fossil fuels and renewable fuels. The North Dakota Department of Commerce will work with the EERC on North Dakota’s portion of the proposal development.

The Department of Energy said it aims to select six to 10 hydrogen hubs, with concept papers due by Nov. 7 and applications due by April 7, 2023. Additional funding opportunities may follow to accelerate and expand the network of clean hydrogen projects, the department said.