The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded a $50 million federal grant to H2theFuture, a 25-organisation partnership that plans to develop a new offshore wind-powered hydrogen energy industry cluster in south Louisiana. 

The proposal – led by nonprofit business booster Greater New Orleans Inc. – is one of only 21 winners out of more than 500 entries in the EDA’s Build Back Better Challenge. GNO Inc. said the plan “creates a roadmap for decarbonising Louisiana’s manufacturing sector while creating new energy jobs.” 

In simplified scientific terminology, the group’s goal is to produce “green hydrogen” by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable electricity, such as wind. This would create a “carbon-free” energy feedstock and, according to a H2theFuture study, cut the state’s hydrogen emissions in half. 

“We are grateful for the vision of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Economic Development Administration that made H2theFuture possible,” said Michael Hecht, GNO Inc. president and CEO, in a press release.  

“Moreover, we want to recognise that this exciting project has come together due to the work and trust of two dozen organizations across south Louisiana, and we extend our gratitude to these outstanding partners, as well.” 

The 25-organisation coalition that developed the H2theFuture plan includes regional economic development organizations and planning commissions, the Port of South Louisiana, public research universities, HBCUs, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, the Urban League of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Parole Project. 

The grant will be supplemented by $24.5 million in matching funds provided by the State of Louisiana, boosting the total project budget to $74.5 million.