Advancing the Clean Economy: ITA’s Inaugural Hydrogen Industry Roundtable 

August 17, 2023

Charles Saad is an International Trade Specialist with ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries.

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Clean energy innovators and producers around the world have been responding to the looming challenge and consequences of climate change by developing and deploying new technologies to protect communities from climate impacts and accelerate the clean energy economy. Investments in clean energy and climate since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law have created more than 170,000 jobs, and the law is projected to create more than 1.5 million additional jobs in the United States over the next decade. One particular segment of the clean energy transition, hydrogen, has received unprecedented attention, and demand is expected to grow 9.2% per year through 2030.

Hydrogen – a versatile and flexible energy carrier that can be produced with low or zero carbon emissions – is an emerging fuel that produces water rather than greenhouse gas emissions when combusted or consumed in a fuel cell. It can be generated from several sources, including solar, wind, and fossil fuel, with carbon capture and storage. The development of clean hydrogen technology advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious climate goals to reach net-zero emissions by 2050—a target necessary to limit warming to 1.5° C and avoid the most severe impacts of climate change.

Image depicts a wetland with a large white tank labeled 'Hydrogen H2'. Wind turbines are shown behind the tank.

In June, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, aiming to accelerate the production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of clean hydrogen. Later that month, the International Trade Administration (ITA) hosted its inaugural Hydrogen Industry Roundtable with key business leaders from the clean energy sector as well as representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, and State, and the White House to inform future steps to support this fast-growing industry. The discussion focused on how the Department of Commerce and other federal agencies can support the hydrogen industry as demand grows and advance the economic and environmental priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration.

The roundtable featured diverse stakeholders and industry partners who are directly involved in the manufacturing, trade, and deployment of clean hydrogen technology. Participants ranged from prospective market entrants with technology prototypes to some of the largest electrolyzer manufacturers in the country. Many participants welcomed the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act’s 45V Hydrogen Production Tax Credit, which will provide credits for hydrogen production with sufficiently low emissions intensity.

The hydrogen economy can potentially add 100,000 jobs to the U.S. economy and support our progress towards decarbonization. To boost export competitiveness, some industry leaders expressed interest in:  

  1. Establishing global clean energy standards, underscoring the achievements of existing standards that have proven successful for light-duty fuel cells. 
  1. Identifying and pursuing additional project financing opportunities and feasibility studies, with the backing of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, to further bolster the growth of this sector. 
  1. Strengthening collaboration with international partners to facilitate the smooth import of essential critical minerals, crucial for the production of clean hydrogen, thus fostering more efficient and sustainable processes. 

The roundtable was immensely valuable for connecting private sector representatives with leaders from federal agencies who are eager to support the hydrogen sector’s growth and build a more secure and sustainable clean energy economy. To build on this momentum, ITA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Industries is planning additional stakeholder roundtables to gather recommendations and share best practices aimed at accelerating progress to meet our global climate goals.

For more information regarding upcoming events and opportunities, industry stakeholders are encouraged to contact us at Hydrogen.Economy@trade.gov.

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