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Granholm launches 'Earthshot' goal of reducing hydrogen energy cost to $1

The Energy Department announced on Monday that it was starting an “Earthshots” initiative to reduce the costs of clean energy within a decade — starting with its first goal of reducing the cost of clean hydrogen to $1 per kilogram. 

The Energy Earthshots Initiative will seek to, within a decade, speed up breakthroughs in affordable and reliable clean energy, according to a department statement. 

“The Energy Earthshots are an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation, collaboration and acceleration of our clean energy economy by tackling the toughest remaining barriers to quickly deploy emerging clean energy technologies at scale,” Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmCleaner US gas can reduce Europe's reliance on Russian energy Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve Biden administration eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve MORE said in a statement. 

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The goal for hydrogen energy seeks to reduce the fuel’s cost by about 80 percent, as hydrogen produced using renewable energy currently costs about $5 per kilogram, according to the department. 

Hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity by dividing hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons and moving the electrons through an external circuit. 

This type of electricity can be produced using various types of energy, but the initiative appears to be focused on cells that run on energy from water, renewables, nuclear or fossil fuels when technology is used to capture their emissions. 

In her statement, Granholm described clean hydrogen as a “game changer.”

“It will help decarbonize high-polluting heavy-duty and industrial sectors, while delivering good-paying clean energy jobs and realizing a net-zero economy by 2050,” she said. 

As part of the initiative, the department put out a request for information on Monday that asks questions about the potential for emissions reductions, what regions would be best suited for hydrogen projects and possible needs or challenges.

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Granholm has previously called for slashing the cost of hydrogen by 80 percent, saying in April that this would make it “competitive with natural gas.”

At that time, she also called for cutting battery cell prices in half to make electric vehicles more affordable. 

--Updated at 1:10 p.m.