Midwest states–including Illinois–create pact backing more clean energy

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Midwest states–including Illinois–create pact backing more clean energy: Today’s Juice, by Greg Hinz

hydrogen fuel cell
Photo: Bloomberg

 

With concern rising about whether the state will have an adequate supply of energy–especially clean energy–Illinois has entered an unusual partnership with six other Midwest states to expand the use of hydrogen as a fuel. The pact is dubbed the Midwestern Hydrogen Coalition.

The Memorandum of Understanding is not legally binding and it’s more a general statement of goals than an action plan. But anything that gets Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, fellow Democrats from Kentucky, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and Republican governors from Indiana and Ohio to sign on the dotted line is worth noting.

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In a press release announcing the partnership, Gov. Pritzker said, "Innovative solutions to fighting climate change require collaborative efforts. Through the partnership of the Midwestern Hydrogen Coalition, Illinois will play a major role in fostering a healthy economic environment for the hydrogen production market in the Midwest, creating more clean energy sector jobs and lowering carbon emissions in the manufacturing and transportation sectors across the state and region."

The MOU suggests that the Midwest already has a head start in the potential use of hydrogen via its existing broad use of ammonia-based fertilizer on farms. “The existing ammonia distribution network is arguably the most extensive hydrogen distribution network in the country,” it says.

Beyond that, the area remains a manufacturing hub for industries that could use low- and zero-carbon energy inputs, including steel making and ethanol production, the memo says. When used in a fuel cell, the only byproduct of “burning” hydrogen is water.

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The memo says the seven states will work together with commercial partners, universities and others, “to evaluate strategic challenges and opportunities in developing a robust Midwestern market for clean hydrogen, green ammonia and related low-and zero-carbon energy carriers and technologies.”

The MOU can be read, in full, here

We’ll get a better idea of how meaningful this is when we find out whom Pritzker and other governors appoint to a coalition task force to plot future steps.

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September 20, 2022 at 10:49AM

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