Houston Matters

Why efforts to spur hydrogen energy may work in California, but not Texas

University of Houston Energy Fellow Ed Hirs says it’s all about economics.


Hydrogen Fuel
AP Photo/Craig Ruttle
A lack of existing infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles could be a challenge to expanding hydrogen as a viable energy source.


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The U.S. Department of Energy Wednesday announced plans – and a billion dollars in funding – to spark the development and sales of hydrogen energy. It's a market that has been slow to develop, even as the Biden administration indicated it will spend some 7 billion to develop hydrogen hubs across the country (one of those could end up here in Houston).

Will more money lead to more investors? Yes, says University of Houston energy fellow Ed Hirs–just not necessarily here.

Hirs, who teaches energy economics in the department of economics at UH, notes tax incentives in California make a cleaner way to derive hydrogen energy financially competitive with a less clean process.

In the audio above, Hirs tells Houston Matters host Craig Cohen that Houston area energy companies are interested in developing more hydrogen energy, but it’s too costly now, with problems and limits in infrastructure, from pipelines that can’t transport hydrogen effectively, to little interest in developing charging stations for hydrogen fuel cell cars.

Joshua Zinn

Joshua Zinn

Producer, Houston Matters

Joshua is a producer for Houston Matters on News 88.7 as well as the host of Encore Houston on Houston Public Media Classical. He joined Houston Public Media as a radio intern in 2014 and became a full-time announcer the following year. Now he prepares segments and occasionally records interviews...

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