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Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub

U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Hydrogen Hubs and MACH2

The Department of Energy (DOE’s) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) announced on Friday October 13th the earmarking of $7 Billion in federal funding for “hydrogen hubs” across the nation, utilizing the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021. There are two hubs that have been chosen as funding recipients that are proposed to be located in Pennsylvania – one in the Delaware River Watershed called Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (MACH2) and one called the Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) in western PA. MACH2 is reportedly slated to be made up of 17 sites that span Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. ARCH2 includes locations in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

MACH2: President Joe Biden came to the Tioga Marine Terminal on the Delaware River in Philadelphia on Friday to focus on the MACH2 hub, stating that the MACH2 “hub alone is going to produce 100,000 tons of hydrogen per year”. The components of the MACH2 hub are being kept secret from the public so we don’t know exactly where these sites are that will make up the hub, exactly what the energy sources for the hydrogen manufacture will be, what facilities will be located where, precisely how the hydrogen will be used, or what the environmental and public health impacts may be. Because of the lack of transparency of what these hubs actually entail, at this time we have no hub maps, no firm timeline, or any informed picture of the full environmental footprint of MACH2. Delaware Riverkeeper Network is seeking out information to share about the MACH2 hub and will update this web page as we proceed. The abstract for MACH2 said it would “work to create primarily green and pink hydrogen” methods but the abstract also noted MACH2 would “employ steam methane reforming with carbon capture”, which is called blue hydrogen, while the MACH2 ‘green hydrogen” capabilities are being developed. When that switch would be made is anyone’s guess at this point. Whether it will be made is also unknown, considering the investment of the fracking and gas and oil infrastructure industries in the hydrogen hubs, including MACH2.

What We Do Know Now: 

We know all the hydrogen hubs will need processing facilities and extensive infrastructure and each will use various energy sources to make hydrogen and to distribute and use hydrogen. According to the MACH2 promoters, MACH2 will encompass the entire state of Delaware and the regions of Southern New Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania which border the Delaware River, extending from Delaware City, DE to the south to Trenton, NJ to the north along the I-95 corridor (MACH2 Abstract, November 7, 2022).

The MACH2 hub is supposed to use nuclear, fracked gas, and wind and/or solar, according to the MACH2 Abtract. The Abtract states that they will employ “blue hydrogen” – using fracked gas – through a processing method known as steam methane reforming with carbon capture during early phases of development while green H2 production is developed. Using fracked gas perpetuates the human harm and environmental destruction of the fracked gas industry in Pennsylvania and it would emit massive amounts of the powerful greenhouse gas methane, warming the atmosphere and worsening the climate crisis; that’s intolerable.

The use of nuclear energy at MACH2 is expected to be substantial – it would come from PSEG’s nuclear power plants in Salem County, NJ and from “modular” nuclear units at the closed Oyster Creek Facility in NJ (see HOLTEC info.). The Salem nuclear facility is already nearing the end of scheduled life; the Salem Nuclear Generating Station, which possibly could be used for MACH2, inflicts significant environmental harm as it is, destroying over 14 billion Delaware River fish, eggs and larvae every year in the Delaware estuary and Bay through impingement and entrainment, with its grandfathered and outdated monster of a once-through cooling system. Extending operations of this facility would be devastating to the Delaware’s marine life and ecosystems. Creating more nuclear waste at Oyster Creek or any location by the use nuclear energy to make hydrogen is irresponsible and destructive. And using wind and solar directly to electrify is the cleanest and most efficient way to utilize these renewables, not waste them to make polluting hydrogen. MACH2 makes no environmental or climate sense.

The MACH2 developers state they will “reuse and revitalize significant existing pipeline infrastructure”, possible including reusing an old oil pipeline that cuts through Delaware, southeastern PA, under the Delaware River, and into southern New Jersey. There is a small grey hydrogen plant at the PBF (Delaware City) Refinery owned by Air Products (see: . It has been in operation for a few years, with a distribution pipeline system. This is expected to be part of the MACH2 plans for producing hydrogen. Also, there is a reported plan to build hydrogen fueling stations along transportation routes in the Delaware River region, modeled on a system in California.

It has been mentioned that the Delaware City Refinery would “figure prominently into the MACH2 plans” and aiming to create a (presumably) new plant “capable of producing upward of 137 megatons” a day, of what they call ‘clean” hydrogen. DRN weighed in with the New Castle County Land Use and Planning Board on October 17 regarding an application for rezoning a portion of the PBF (Delaware City) Refinery property to allow for it to be used by right for the development of one of the components of the MACH2 hydrogen hub. See DRN letter here: This application came up without any public engagement, as a completely stealth action. DRN was alerted by a member in Delaware and we submitted a letter to the Board opposing the rezoning; other regional and local environmental groups attended to speak up in opposition on the record at the October 17 public hearing. The application was not approved but we will not know for certain if the application will be denied until a later date; DRN and Delaware activists will remain in active alert mode to ensure this totally unjust attempt to usher through a comprehensive zoning change for a component of the as-yet unfunded and secretive MACH2 hydrogen hub, currently making grey hydrogen no less, does not get any traction.

At a conference held at Rowan University on October 23 (“Sweeney Center for Public Policy: Future of Nuclear & Hydrogen Energy Conference at Rowan University”) a few more details were offered to the public. One was that HOLTEC, a modular nuclear unit manufacturer (see: is planning to build a modular nuke on the decommissioned Oyster Creek Nuclear facility site, closed in 2018, now owned  by HOLTEC. HOLTEC stated that they are planning a “small modular nuclear unit” (300 MW), hydrolyzers, and capability to manufacture hydrogen there using “pink hydrogen” (nuclear energy), and “possibly” wind energy and solar energy as part of the MACH2 hub. It was stated by PSEG that they will be adding “molecules of energy” from the Salem nuclear facility on the Delaware River to make hydrogen. South Jersey Industries said they have experience now with hydrogen manufacturing and will be using pipeline infrastructure to move hydrogen from production facilities to end use facilities. South Jersey Industries said they are building a “green hydrogen” plant now. It was unclear what the energy source would be for that plant.

It was also stated by New Jersey business representatives at the conference that they blend a small amount of hydrogen into natural gas now and their goal is to maximize blending hydrogen and natural gas in the existing pipeline systems in NJ. There is a small “green hydrogen” plant in Howell, NJ, owned and operated by New Jersey Resources Corporation  (See: Reportedly, it uses wind to power the plant but also plans to use solar. It was also mentioned at the New Jersey conference that “renewable natural gas” from landfills and farms is also going to be employed to make hydrogen.

But no links to written documents were shared at the NJ conference, so the only document we have to rely on is the original Abstract for MACH2. We have submitted a FOIA with the Department of Energy for a reportedly more current Abstract for MACH2. DRN will continue to investigate; DRN has filed FOIAs for information and will update this site as we obtain facts. The dribbling out of bits of information is frustrating for the public as it leaves us in the dark while the companies roll ahead behind closed doors. This lack of open discussion and disclosure of actual MACH2 plans is a tactic often used by industries and government to obscure the facts and shut out the public in an attempt to move through permit approvals quickly and under the radar and to avoid controversy. DRN is fighting back with a campaign to discover all we can about these proposed hydrogen hubs.

More information: 

MACH2 has $750M of public tax funding promised. But the funding has not been released for the MACH2 hub or any other hub yet. The developers must meet certain requirements in the coming months before they receive funds and the “phased-in” process described by OCED has several review stages that could stop the HUB from being funded. This phase-in could last up to a year after negotiations, which will then be followed by two to three years of project development, and a range of several more years between development, construction, and beginning operations. There are also federal tax subsidies and incentives that are not yet approved that are supposed to be used to support the hubs. The uncertainty of funding and the lack of final approval by OCED means that these hubs can be stopped and as communities become more aware of the details, it will be critical for the public to be fully engaged.

Upcoming government briefings and meetings/conferences are already scheduled that will help sort out the critical details. DRN will host webinars and forums to share what we are learning and opportunities for action.  See our website Home Page for dates and how to participate.


Hydrogen is not a clean energy source as it is described.MACH2 is described as helping to “unlock hydrogen-driven decarbonization in the Mid-Atlantic while repurposing historic oil infrastructure and using existing rights-of-way.” There are 4 main color systems used to describe each type of hydrogen technology ─ pink, grey, blue, and green. Simplified, grey is described as using fossil gas in a steam reforming process, blue uses fossil gas with carbon capture and storage, pink uses nuclear energy, and green is described as using electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar to split the hydrogen away from other molecules.

See the color wheel from an industry website imbedded here:

Graphic with a color wheel from an industry website

Scientists explain that “hydrogen itself is a greenhouse gas 100 times more times potent than carbon dioxide over a 10-year period. Because it’s the smallest molecule, hydrogen is more prone to leaking into the air from tanks and pipelines”. And a 2021 study found that “burning blue hydrogen would emit more than 20 percent more greenhouse gases than natural gas or coal.” Burning hydrogen to make energy also emits polluting nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the air as well as other toxics, harming public health. And the manufacturing process of hydrogen uses immense amounts of water, uses so much energy to make that it is actually a net loss, requires huge infrastructure with an enormous environmental footprint, and hydrogen, no matter how it is made, is highly flammable and explosive, threatening communities and the environment at every step of the process.

Graphic of MACH2 Hydrogen Highway
Graphic of Preliminary Projects under consideration
Graphic from MACH2 PowerPoint briefing with map of sites


Hydrogen Hub MACH2: Powerfully Engaging Mach2 Communities

Hydrogen Hub MACH2: What is it and what’s the impact on the Delaware River Watershed Region?