Gov. Andy Beshear said he was working to bring hydrogen investments and jobs to Kentucky by working with fellow governors in six states to advance a hydrogen market, supply chain and workforce development across the Midwest region.
Gov. Beshear joins governors of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin in creating a Midwest Hydrogen Coalition (M-H2 Coalition). The coalition provides a regional framework for a strong hydrogen market that will spur new industries and good-paying jobs, promote energy resilience and improve public health by reducing pollution.
“Kentucky’s robust infrastructure, strong chemical and manufacturing base, along with our leadership in the automotive and logistics sectors position us as a natural location for economic development in hydrogen,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are looking forward to working with our Midwest and local industry partners to build a hydrogen economy in Kentucky.”
Hydrogen can be produced through fossil, renewable and nuclear resources. The energy density and energy carrying capacity of hydrogen make it an attractive cleaner fuel option for transportation, aviation and industrial uses as well as electricity generation applications.
With its extensive freight and pipeline network and underground storage areas, Kentucky has the energy infrastructure to support, enhance or expand hydrogen production, hydrogen distribution and hydrogen vehicle infrastructure.
Kentucky is also uniquely located at the center of a 34-state distribution area for shipping products by truck or rail across the Eastern United States, placing the commonwealth within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population.
In 2021, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky announced a $461 million upgrade to its Georgetown manufacturing plant, which starting next year will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell (FC) modules destined for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty commercial trucks.
The state’s Regional Hydrogen Hub Workgroup was formed earlier this year to develop projects around the use of hydrogen, such as natural gas blending or transportation fuel. Hydrogen is one component of Kentucky’s energy strategy, KYE3.
“This strategy will move the state forward by connecting job creators, energy providers and environmental stewards with communities to create a sustainable energy infrastructure,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.
In July, Kentucky Interstates 64, 65 and 75 were approved by the Federal Highway Administration as hydrogen transportation corridors, supporting the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure on those key freight corridors. The approval of these three corridors signals the importance of transportation connectivity to a nationwide hydrogen economy.
“The automotive industry is undergoing fundamental change,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “We’re looking to the future, and alternative fuels will offer consumers more choices to power their drives. Kentucky, already becoming the capital of electric vehicle battery production, and now with three interstates designated as hydrogen fuel corridors, is ideally positioned for a leadership role.”