NEW ORLEANS – H2theFuture, a 25-organization partnership, was awarded a $50 million federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Spearheaded by Greater New Orleans Inc. and the Greater New Orleans Development Foundation, the grant supports efforts to transition the state away from nonrenewable energy to renewable energy, which uses a cleaner form of hydrogen. Clean hydrogen is a non-toxic, clean energy source less harmful to the environment. H2theFuture will develop and implement a clean hydrogen cluster strategy to retain and create Louisiana jobs while substantially reducing carbon emissions in the south Louisiana industrial corridor.
“As this nation and world adjust to a new energy economy, hydrogen will be a vital and green feedstock and fuel that powers our future,” said Reynold Verret, president of Xavier University of Louisiana. “Xavier and other Louisiana institutions will contribute to the dawning of a new day, in how we fuel our lives in clean and sustainable ways, by educating the talent needed to lead the development and implementation of new technologies, practices and business models and to conduct the innovative research that will map our course forward.”
In addition to Xavier, H2theFuture will work with three other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in Louisiana: Dillard University; Southern University and A&M College; and Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO). The collaboration will prepare students for emerging executive jobs in the new energy sector, offer direct internship opportunities, and encourage the development of entrepreneurial concepts through industry-aligned curricula.
“At Xavier, we educate our talented students to promote a more just and humane society by utilizing their knowledge and gifts to improve and heal communities,” said Dr. Anne McCall, provost of Xavier University of Louisiana. “We are excited to join our partners in this endeavor by educating our students for innovative careers in clean energy and ways to reduce environmental disparities in our communities.”
A significant element of H2theFuture’s strategy is retention, development, and upskilling in Louisiana’s energy workforce. The H2theFuture coalition aims to 1) preserve traditional energy jobs in lower-carbon applications, 2) train future workers for new, clean energy jobs, and 3) intentionally address historical economic, environmental and social challenges.
For decades, Louisiana has been an energy state, with more oil and gas jobs per capita, more pipelines per square mile, and more energy ingenuity than anywhere in the United States. Louisiana is ranked amongst the highest states in terms of total energy consumption. This partnership allows for a transition to a new energy economy, contributing to cleaner and more sustainable ways of living.
“By participating in the H2theFuture project, Xavier and our students will be central in efforts that will work at decarbonizing the South Louisiana industrial corridor,” said Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya, dean of Xavier University of Louisiana’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Through this work and education, our students will also be prepared to enter new, clean-energy careers.”
To learn more, visit H2thefuture.org.