The United States already has over 1,600 miles of hydrogen pipelines, one of the most extensive hydrogen pipeline networks in the world.1 It also has the world’s largest transportation and storage network for fossil fuels. The existing transportation and storage infrastructure in the United States makes it physically ready to lead the world in hydrogen development.

For the transition to hydrogen to be successful, it will be necessary, at least initially, to create regional hydrogen clusters that can scale clean hydrogen production and host demand centers without requiring a major buildout of long-distance hydrogen transportation infrastructure. For long-term success, those regional centers must eventually grow to form an interconnected national network. The existing fossil fuel transportation and storage hubs in the United States could easily host regional hydrogen clusters that quickly evolve into a national network.

Despite all of its advantages—from existing infrastructure to resources for production—the United States will have to embrace hydrogen usage more affirmatively, especially in the realm of policy, in order to make hydrogen a viable alternative energy option. The first step forward would be to identify all potentially interested stakeholders from the public and private sectors and host a planning summit to set forth a strategic hydrogen vision, including identifying potential regional hydrogen hubs and associated transportation and storage options.

Read the full paper by Cynthia Quarterman for Atlantic Council by clicking here