Jordan Soto, executive producer, Hart Energy: What's next for the hydrogen initiatives in Houston? Find out in this Hart Energy LIVE exclusive with the Center for Houston's Future.

Brett Perlman, CEO, Center for Houston’s Future: We look at big picture global issues. So our bumper sticker is ‘think globally, act locally.’ So my background is in energy. I used to work on the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and so I went through one energy transition, and when we started working on this, on these sorts of issues, we saw that real opportunity for Houston to move from an oil and gas capital to become a low carbon energy capital. And we saw in particular the opportunity for Houston to become a global clean hydrogen hub. And so a lot of our work is focused on that topic.

JS: What got you into the energy transition and the clean hydrogen space?

BP: We really saw that no one was working on this when we started in 2017. The U.S. had just pulled out of the Paris Accord. There were companies working on it, primarily European energy companies, but we really saw the potential for Houston really to be a leader in this transformation. And so we started trying to understand what the assets are in Houston, who the companies are, what the applications might be, and really tried to put that story together.

JS: What are you doing to build that ecosystem for the hydrogen economy?

BP: Right. So we've done three projects. Each are slightly different. The first one we did was a roadmap. So we wanted to understand a little bit of about what the assets are, where we might be going, both in the near term and the long term. And then we have been working on a Department of Energy grant to start to implement some of the things we discovered in the roadmap. And beyond the grant, we're actually working on creating an ecosystem of projects, of companies and organizations that want to build other parts of it, like workforce development, working with communities to engage communities in the work. So beyond just the project development, there's this whole ecosystem set of projects that we're working on as well.

JS: What role do you think the HyVelocity Hub is playing in that ecosystem and building that?

BP: Yeah, so HyVelocity is our application to the Department of Energy (DOE). We currently have seven large project sponsors: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Air Liquide and several others. And they're doing the development of the projects and it will become, we call it HyVelocity because we really believe we have the knowledge and assets in Houston. But what we need to do is accelerate the development of this. And so we apply to DOE for funding to really create the infrastructure that then other companies can come in and leverage in creating this, what we think to be a really exciting global clean hydrogen hub.

JS: And you've mentioned that Houston's been a hub for energy for a long time, and you've already gone through one energy transition. How do you see hydrogen reshaping Houston's future?

BP: So Bill Gates calls hydrogen the Swiss Army knife of clean energy fuels. It's really important to have, it can be a drop in fuel. It's a really important fuel for transportation, for marine, perhaps for aviation, for power generation. And so traditionally hydrogen has been used only in the oil and gas area, but we see all these other new applications. So if we're going to decarbonize our world and do it quickly, which is clear with the challenges, hydrogen has to be a big part of that story.

JS: To learn more about the Center for Houston's future, go online to This is your Hart Energy LIVE exclusive.