Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma will submit an application for up to $1.25 billion in funding under the federal regional clean hydrogen hubs program after the U.S. Department of Energy encouraged them to do so, their governors said on Tuesday.

The states created the HALO Hydrogen Hub in March to compete for money appropriated by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

We are excited to partner with our neighbors in Louisiana and Oklahoma to put forward a winning application,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a statement, adding his state’s growing and diverse energy portfolio and natural resources are vital to any successful regional hub.

The act President Joe Biden signed into law in November 2021 earmarks up to $7 billion for DOE to develop six to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs.

“This program will develop H2Hubs that demonstrate the production, processing, delivery, storage and end-use of clean hydrogen, in support of the Biden administration’s climate goals,” according to the DOE. “The H2Hubs will form the foundation of a national clean hydrogen network that will contribute substantially to decarbonizing multiple sectors of the economy and creating good paying jobs.”

The federal agency, which launched the application process in September, has also said it would select applications that prioritize employment and address hydrogen feedstock, end uses, and geographic diversity. 

Potential hydrogen hubs have popped up across the country with the DOE reporting it received 79 concept papers requesting nearly $60 billion in federal funding to supplement more than $150 million from the projects’ own funding sources in the program’s initial application phase.

Seven Midwest states joined forces in September to pursue the federal dollars.

The HALO Hub involves public-private partnerships to develop an extensive hydrogen network in the three states that would ultimately be integrated into a national hydrogen network. 

“HALO states already have a healthy infrastructure in place that is actively delivering the raw materials to our industrial base, which is in turn making use of that hydrogen feedstock — next steps will be making sure all that hydrogen becomes low-carbon and making it more available and accepted as a major energy source.” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said he was confident the states will land a hub “and become the nation’s heartland for hydrogen.” 

“Oklahoma believes in a ‘More of Everything’ energy approach and by leaning into the hydrogen future with our partners, we can further diversify our nation’s energy portfolio and start meeting American demand with American energy,” he said.

Full applications from proposed hubs regardless of if they were encouraged or discouraged during the concept paper stage, which ended Nov. 7, are due by April 7 with funding recipients expected to be announced in the fall, according to DOE. Eligible applicants include states and local governments, tribal nations, individuals, and for-profit and non-profit organizations.