Call it vapourware.Even as Canada struggles to get its much touted hydrogen industry off the ground — or what it even entails — the Biden administration is barreling ahead with more than US$7 billion in subsidies to build more than a half dozen massive blue hydrogen hubs and associated carbon capture facilities in various locations across the continental US.The funds are to be dispersed under the so-called ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.’ An additional $1 billion will go to finding new end-uses for hydrogen.“Seven billion dollars of this program is going towards the development of the regional clean hydrogen hubs that will catalyze multi-state hydrogen ecosystems that ultimately will expand and connect to form a national hydrogen economy,” the White House said..As most high school science students know — or should — hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, providing the fuel for stars. But because it’s so light — one proton and one electron — it bonds with other heavier elements like carbon and oxygen to prevent it from blowing into space.Although hydrogen can be used to fuel nuclear reactors, it can also be combusted directly or used in fuel cells to generate electricity.‘Blue’ hydrogen is so-called because it comes from natural gas, as opposed to ‘pink’ or ‘green’ varieties that come from nuclear reactors and wind generated electrolysis, respectively. ‘White’ hydrogen is gas that is discovered in its pure state, which is also the rarest.Blue hydrogen is the most controversial because the production process still generates emissions and is derived from fossil fuels. “Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels is not a solution — whatever the colour," says Jill Tauber, Earthjustice’s vice-president of litigation for climate and energyBlue hydrogen doesn’t qualify as ‘clean’ energy under the Canadian government’s renewable fuels definition but major US oil and gas producers such as Exxon-Mobil have been lobbying the US government to make it eligible for generous incentives and tax credits under President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.Canada’s hydrogen plans are slowly emerging but are still barely a fraction of the massive effort being launched in the US.In 2021 the Alberta government released its Hydrogen Roadmap aimed at attracting CAD$30 billion in new investments by 2050. In 2022 it established the Hydrogen Centre of Excellence in partnership with Alberta Innovates and in August launched a $50 million competition to develop new and innovative hydrogen technologies and uses.In February, ATCO and real estate developer Qualico announced plans to build Canada’s first entirely hydrogen-powered community near Sherwood Park.