Northwest Ohio could become the next hydrogen hub

Northwest Ohio could become the next hydrogen hub
Published: Jul. 7, 2023 at 11:05 AM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The future of energy could be produced right here in Northwest Ohio.

That future is hydrogen. The US Department of Energy has solidified its commitment to the project where Northwest Ohio is squarely in the mix.

As this country and people worldwide start to think about the next generation of energy and power hydrogen is widely considered the future. There’s a decent chance that our region could be on the front line of it.

The pitch to create hydrogen in Northwest Ohio begins at the Davis Besse nuclear power plant in Oak Harbor. Energy produced there is powering the hydrogen hub project that our region is pitching to the Department of Energy.

“There’s a real strong push to move to hydrogen. Not just in the United States but Canada is committed, European countries. It’s all around the world. They just see it’s the path forward,” said Frank Calzonetti the University of Toledo vice president for research.

The Energy department is looking to fund between 6-10 hydrogen hub projects with about a total of $7 billion.

That Davis Besse project has cleared the first round, leaving around 30-35 projects still being vetted. Hydrogen burns cleaner than other sources and doesn’t produce carbon, something businesses are really trying to reduce.

“They have a corporate commitment to de carbonization. For some of these it looks like the most attractive path is the substitution of hydrogen for natural gas,” said Calzonetti. This week the Department of Energy recommitted to this project saying they’re ready to put up a billion dollars on the demand side and provide certainty for buyers of this clean energy.

At Davis Besse, the hydrogen will be produced using both nuclear power and solar. Two clean energy sources could help the bid. The University of Toledo has helped coordinate the local effort on this, while already identifying potential partners and end users for the hydrogen like Cleveland Cliffs hot-briquetted iron plant in Toledo. “

You’ll also see the attraction from throughout the world of investment to be part of a hub,” said Calzonetti. If the region gets the hub the financial investment could be huge. Not only would the Department of Energy come in with around a billion dollars but so too would the private industry. Leaving this area with lots of new opportunities.

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