At the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office (HFTO), we embrace Justice40 and incorporate it into our work by including community benefits plans (CBPs) in our funding opportunity announcements (FOAs), supporting small-scale demonstrations, and promoting workforce development. 

We are in our second year of requiring CBPs for our annual appropriations-based FOAs, and CBPs were a key feature of the historic $750 million HFTO FOA funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which was launched earlier this year. CBPs are an essential tool for environmental equity and justice because they help us identify projects with clear and viable plans to ensure maximum benefits for local communities, and they require selectees to report on progress toward realizing those benefits to ensure that important work is being done. 

A UPS fuel cell vehicle being fueled with hydrogen

HFTO funds several small-scale deployments of hydrogen technologies that directly benefit disadvantaged communities (DACs), including:

  • A cooperative agreement with the Center for Transportation and the Environment to deploy fuel cell electric delivery vans in a DAC, reducing ambient air pollution in that community.
  • A microgrid project with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the city of Borrego Springs—a DAC located in California—to use fuel cells to supply power during natural disasters and other power outages. This project further reduces reliance on diesel-powered generators, reducing air and noise pollution while improving grid stability.
Illustration of how LANL's partnership with MSIs creates a STEM pipeline of BS, MS, and Ph.D. students leading to labs and industry

HFTO is also funding a workforce development initiative that unites Los Alamos National Laboratory, industry, and various minority serving institutions (MSIs). This partnership helps build important connections between academia, national labs, and industry. HFTO funding is providing opportunities for MSI students to participate in cutting edge hydrogen fuel cell research and encouraging students to pursue advanced degrees to prepare for the hydrogen workforce. Over 100 candidates have participated in the program so far. Learn more here.

H2EDGE: Regional Hubs Training the Workforce for the Hydrogen Economy

Our funding for the Hydrogen Education for a Decarbonized Global Economy (H2EDGE) project supports work with historically black colleges and universities, with additional support from regional industry partners. These efforts include development of university curricula and professional development materials, which will be used nationally by peer institutions. H2EDGE also pairs industry advisory board members with academic institutions in their area to support student capstone projects, internships, and career development. 

These are just a few examples of how DOE is working to elevate environmental equity and justice—in fact, technology offices across DOE are actively engaging with stakeholders and communities just as HFTO does. We look forward to sharing updates on these and future initiatives!

If you have any questions or concerns related to clean hydrogen and environmental justice, please reach out to us via hydrogen-engagement@hq.doe.gov