Industry leaders and experts convene at Midwest Hydrogen Summit

This week, researchers, manufacturers, business leaders and policymakers convened at the Midwest Hydrogen Summit at Hyzon Motors' Innovation Center in Bolingbrook to discuss opportunities for the Midwest to play a leading role in the emerging hydrogen economy and drive collaboration across the value chain. Speakers and participants emphasized the significant innovation, investment and impact that companies and researchers will bring to the Midwest's energy future, especially in a region that is a major transportation hub with a robust manufacturing base and ideally suited for production, distribution and storage for hydrogen technologies.

Event speakers included Craig Knight, CEO of Hyzon Motors; Dr. Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Irvine; Dr. Ted Krause, hydrogen and fuel cell program manager at Argonne National Laboratory; state Sen. Laura Ellman from the 21st District; and industry leaders from Constellation, Caterpillar, bp and GTI Energy.

"Hyzon is proud to highlight the tremendous momentum and activity that organizations across the Midwest are bringing to the hydrogen economy. From production to distribution to off-take, the Midwest contains key organizations which will help accelerate our transition to clean energy," said Craig Knight, chief executive officer at Hyzon Motors. "Hyzon looks forward to supporting this through our newly-built fuel cell production facility right here in Chicagoland, which is in the final stages of commissioning."

"With its abundant carbon-free nuclear resources, the Midwest is uniquely situated to produce clean hydrogen at scale to eliminate carbon emissions from hard-to-decarbonize sectors, resulting in lower emissions, cleaner air and increased economic growth, explained Colleen Farrell Wright, vice president of corporate strategy at Constellation. "As the nation's largest carbon-free energy producer, Constellation will work with stakeholders and the community to lead the transition to a clean energy economy."

"Hydrogen will significantly contribute to sustainable and zero-emissions energy conversion because it has certain features that are required to decarbonize and depollute all sectors," said Dr. Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center and associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Irvine. "The features include, but are not limited to, rapid fueling, long-range and heavy payload advantages in transportation applications, lower cost (due to separate power and energy scaling) and higher reliability and resilience (due to pipeline delivery) in highly renewable electric grids, and high temperature, feedstock, and reducing gas features that are required for industrial decarbonization."

The Midwest has some of the highest wind, solar and carbon-free nuclear generation in the nation. For example, Illinois has the most nuclear capacity of any other state with 11 nuclear reactors, which account for more than half of its electricity generation. The Midwest is also uniquely capable of manufacturing fuel cells and fuel cell electric vehicles (FECVs). Hyzon Motors, for instance, is building the nation's first production facility for fuel cells purpose-built for heavy-duty trucking.

According to one study, hydrogen is expected to support 700,000 jobs by 2030 and 3.2 million by 2050, generating more than $750 billion in revenue by midcentury.

The Midwest Hydrogen Summit was hosted by Hyzon Motors with support from bp, the Midwest Hydrogen Partnership, Nicor Gas, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Constellation and GTI Energy. Organizers and participants at the summit are committed to collaborating with key local players - such as research institutions, national labs, and businesses - to support a clean energy future where hydrogen plays a critical role in both the economic growth and environmental health of the Midwest.

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