ARKANSAS, Sept 28 (Future Headlines)- Norwegian hydrogen company Nel Hydrogen has announced its decision to establish a state-of-the-art automated gigafactory in Plymouth Charter Township, Michigan. This advanced facility will be dedicated to producing electrolyzer technology for green hydrogen generation, marking a significant milestone in Michigan’s clean energy journey.
The gigafactory is expected to contribute substantially to the local economy, generating approximately 517 high-paying jobs while injecting $400 million into the community. This substantial investment underscores Michigan’s leadership in advanced manufacturing and its commitment to clean energy solutions.
Hydrogen, as the lightest and most abundant element in the universe, offers immense potential as a clean energy source. Through a process known as electrolysis, hydrogen can be produced from water using renewable energy sources. This green hydrogen holds the key to Michigan’s transition away from fossil fuels, playing a pivotal role in creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy landscape.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a staunch advocate for clean energy and job creation, expressed her enthusiasm for Nel Hydrogen’s investment. She emphasized that the state’s economic mission to Norway earlier this year was instrumental in attracting Nel Hydrogen to Michigan. Several factors contributed to the company’s decision to choose Michigan over other states and nations, including the state’s skilled workforce, robust network of universities, and its globally renowned mobility industry.
To support this project, the Michigan Business Development Program is expected to provide a $10 million grant. Additionally, the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) board has approved a 15-year, 100-percent State Essential Services Assessment Exemption Request, valued at up to $6.25 million, to offer financial assistance to the project.
The new manufacturing facility will occupy a substantial 507,000 square feet and will focus on producing Proton Exchange Membrane and Alkaline hydrogen electrolyzers. This facility will be built from the ground up, tailored precisely to meet Nel Hydrogen’s requirements. The choice of Plymouth Charter Township aligns perfectly with the company’s strategic goals, offering access to a highly educated workforce, renowned universities, research institutions, and proximity to collaborating partner General Motors.
Nel Hydrogen’s CEO, Håkon Volldal, highlighted the appeal of Plymouth Charter Township, emphasizing the region’s advantages, including a skilled workforce, research institutions, and the strong support provided by the Michigan government and authorities, which have offered an attractive financial package for the company.
Nel Hydrogen, with a storied history dating back to 1927, is a prominent player in the hydrogen technology sector. The company specializes in electrolyzer technology for renewable hydrogen production and hydrogen fueling equipment for road vehicles. Nel’s products are instrumental in enabling a green hydrogen economy facilitating the decarbonization of various industries, including transportation, refining, steel production, and ammonia production.
While Nel Hydrogen’s parent company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, this marks the company’s first major investment in Michigan. The decision aligns seamlessly with Michigan’s commitment to advancing clean technology and clean energy solutions. Michigan has earned recognition as a leader in clean energy jobs in the Midwest. According to the Clean Jobs America report from Environmental Entrepreneurs, the state added over 5,400 workers in clean energy in 2022, bringing the total to nearly 124,000 individuals employed in clean energy and clean transportation careers.
A joint report released by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the University of Michigan (U-M) last year emphasized the significant role hydrogen can play in Michigan’s clean-energy transition. The “Hydrogen Roadmap for the State of Michigan,” prepared by U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems, explores the potential of hydrogen across various aspects, from production to end-use applications. In another major development, the MSF board approved support for Plastic Omnium New Energies, which plans to establish the country’s largest hydrogen storage manufacturing plant in Michigan, further solidifying the state’s position in clean hydrogen development.
Nel Hydrogen’s gigafactory represents not only an investment in infrastructure but also an investment in Michigan’s future. It exemplifies the state’s commitment to advanced manufacturing, clean energy innovation, and job creation. The gigafactory is poised to bring over 500 new jobs to the community and will play a pivotal role in transforming vacant properties into engines of economic development.
This substantial investment reaffirms Michigan’s position as a leader in the clean energy revolution. It represents a collaborative effort among government, industry, and local communities to drive progress toward a sustainable future. As the world increasingly demands clean, sustainable energy solutions, Michigan is poised to meet these challenges head-on, fostering innovation, combating climate change, and creating a more sustainable future for all.
Writing by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White