Dr. Sunita Satyapal, U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office Director: Thank you, Shawna. And first I would like to thank Shawna and Vanessa, Eric, ORAU, especially Lee-Ann and Justin and the whole team organizing the AMR. Again, it’s not trivial assigning all the reviews, the scoring, the five parallel tracks. It’s not just a conference. We have over 2,000 participants from 48 countries. And although we cannot meet in person—it’s two years in a row—we have a very special treat for you today. And in my 17 years at DOE, we’ve never had such high-level attendance at the AMR and support.

And so it is such an honor and inspiration to be able to introduce the 16th Secretary of Energy and former Governor of Michigan and second woman ever to lead DOE. And I know it’s virtual but I would’ve done this in person. So if you can, please rise and join me in welcoming the United States Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Thank you.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm: [Laughs.] No need to rise but thank you, Sunita. Hello, everybody. It’s really a thrill to know that over 1,000 of you—whether you're on now or will be—will have joined for this year’s Hydrogen Program Annual Merit Review. Thanks to everybody who has set this up, the work that has gone into it and, certainly, the substance. I love this! You know, across the suite of clean energy solutions we now have, I personally think hydrogen is one of the most promising and exciting.

And I know that much of that promise is due to the work that so many of you, along with the help of our Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, are doing in coordination with other DOE offices over the years. But right now we’re like on the cusp, so the projects that you’ve overseen have given us over 1,100 U.S. patents on hydrogen and fuel cells, given us more than 30 technologies that are already commercialized and 60 more technologies that we think can join them on the market in the next few years. So let me just start by thanking you for your ingenuity and asking you to keep going because this administration is really counting on you to help unlock hydrogen’s full potential.

I just noticed, as I was coming on, that there was an announcement that we have yet again reached peak carbon dioxide emissions and, you know, peak. And we’re in still the final stages of a pandemic, the global pandemic. So the work that we’re doing here to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is so important. And so President Biden, obviously, has bold plans to transition our economy to clean energy and to put the U.S. on this irreversible path to overcoming the climate crisis. We want to reduce carbon emissions by 50 to 52 percent by the end of this decade—so by 2030—and produce 100 percent clean energy by 2035 and hit net-zero economy-wide carbon emissions by 2050.

So meeting those goals—those are not small goals. Those are big, hairy, audacious goals, and meeting them is going to take all of us: the federal government, all 50 states, the private sector, our counterparts in other countries who have joined us, you know, all of us working together and scaling this capacity for science and innovation to this—to really an unprecedented level. And it’s why the president, President Biden, has proposed the American Jobs Plan, which would shift historic investments into the clean energy transition. And it would allow us to ramp up our efforts around hydrogen research and development and deployment. So right now, the U.S. produces about 10 million metric tons of hydrogen. It’s about one-seventh of the global supply. We make it mostly from natural gas. We use it primarily for oil refining and fertilizer production, but we all know that hydrogen could do so much more.

So just quickly as an example, I was in West Virginia last week on Thursday and Friday, and I was—I toured our National Energy Technology Lab, NETL, with Dr. Brian Anderson, who’s head of NETL. And he showed Senator Joe Manchin and I a technology pathway for clean hydrogen, you know, that could replace the carbon-intensive Haber-Bosch process for converting hydrogen into ammonia using microwave reaction technology. And if proven out at scale, that kind of pathway cracks the code on bringing costs down. It enables the transport of hydrogen. It does it in a carbon-free way. You know, that’s the kind of breakthrough that we’re looking for here. So if we can lower the costs, if we could produce greater volumes from cleaner sources for wider applications, and we could use it to cut emissions from steel and iron manufacturing. We could use it to refuel hydrogen fuel cell trucks, make alternative low-carbon fuel for planes, produce ammonia, obviously, green ammonia, other chemicals to create long-duration storage and so much more. Clean, cheap hydrogen—it offers a massive opportunity.

And that’s what we’re aiming for with what we’re calling our Hydrogen Earthshot. So during the President’s Leaders Summit on Climate this Earth Day, I hinted at—it was a global conference for those of you who were able to see. But in that presentation, I hinted at a series of bold, ambitious goals that the Department of Energy would set around next-generation clean solutions. We’ve got so many, obviously, promising technologies that still need a push to become more affordable and more efficient and more capable of creating new and good-paying jobs in this decade.

And so we’re going to make that push with our Energy Earthshots Initiative. These Energy Earthshots are going to focus the Department of Energy on the most challenging technical problems that we face on the path to this 2050 net zero carbon economy. And we are setting tough and achievable targets, you know, tough for sure, but we do believe they're achievable to transform these technologies over the next 10 years, over this decade. We want to lower costs. We want to raise performance. We want to create new jobs. We want to clear the way to our clean energy goals.

So today we’re rolling out the first of these Energy Earthshots focused on element number 1 in the periodic table. We want to lower the cost of clean hydrogen to $1.00 for one kilogram in one decade: one for one in one. So in the United States the cost of hydrogen from natural gas is about $1.50 per kilogram. So we want clean hydrogen to beat that price. And we’re going to use all of our diverse domestic resources to do it, including renewables and nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage and even waste materials like plastic.

And later on in the plenary, you're going to hear a little bit more about how we’ll do it. But let me just share a little more about what it’s going to mean because our scenario analyses suggest that we could produce five times more hydrogen than we are at current levels. And as those numbers go up, emissions will go down. Jobs will skyrocket. And industry leaders estimate that a mature hydrogen and fuel cell industry could create $140 billion in revenue and 700,000 jobs in the United States alone. Can you imagine what that will mean for communities who feel like they have been left behind? If we advance hydrogen technologies, the U.S. can lead a potential $2.5 trillion global market supporting the 30 million jobs worldwide, reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent. So, unbelievable and very exciting time.

We can only get there, though, if we move from the lab to the market. We need to pick up the pace on demonstration and deployment projects to meet our goal. We need your help to figure out where these projects should be cited. It’s why we’re putting out a request for information. We’re seeking you input on which regions we should target. We know you have great insight into where we can find the most ideal locations with access to the brain power, the supply chains, the skilled labor necessary to bring these projects to life.

And I’ll note that at the heart of the American Jobs Plan and President Biden’s broader agenda is his Justice 40 Initiative, which is a promise to ensure that all communities, including underserved communities, including former fossil fuel communities or current fossil fuel communities, that all communities reap the benefits of the clean energy transition. And we’re especially interested in launching projects within communities that have been left behind or gone unseen for too long.

In the intergovernmental workgroup that the President and our team have issued regarding coal and fossil communities, there have been 25 communities inside of that report that was issued last month that are ripe in terms of being the hardest hit and the most fossil-intensive. Those kind of communities are what we’re looking for. So clean hydrogen production can turn these struggling regions into powerhouses of the 21st century economy. So we want your perspectives on where these projects can do the most good, and we’ll continue to reach out to stakeholders, particularly within environmental justice communities in the months ahead.

So over the course of this Annual Merit Review, you're going to hear from many of our own experts and the researchers that we are funding already about their work. You're going to get a sense of how a range of our offices—whether it’s EERE or Fossil Energy or Nuclear Energy or Science, ARPA-E, more—they're all collaborating and they are coordinating their efforts and you’ll hear about that from them. And my hope is that you're going to leave here convinced not only of all the great work being done in hydrogen and in fuel cells and in end uses, but that we can hit one for one in one and beyond. And if you're ready to get to work, we are ready to support you.

So thank you, once again. Thank you, Sunita, for the introduction. Thank you all who are here for your massive contributions. We look forward to working with you over this decade and beyond. Thanks so much.