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Why Hydrogen? - The Colorado Hydrogen Network Vision

Renewable energy – wind, solar and hydroelectric – are energy sources that also need both a carrier and storage.  The electricity from these sources, transported on the grid, can serve as the energy carrier.  Hydrogen is an energy carrier which can be generated from renewable electricity (and other sources), but hydrogen can serve storage needs as well.  This makes hydrogen important for transportation, where a large amount of portable, storable energy is required.

Although hydrogen is in its infancy as a transportation fuel, government and industry are working toward clean, economical, and safe hydrogen production and distribution for widespread use in Fuel Cell EV’s (Electric Vehicles). Fuel Cell EVs are available to the consumer market now, in limited quantities, in localized regions domestically and around the world. The Colorado Hydrogen Network is working to deploy Fuel Cell EV’s in Colorado. The market is also developing for buses, material handling equipment (such as forklifts), ground support equipment, medium and heavy-duty vehicles, and stationary applications.

For any technology to be adopted, it must meet three criteria: it must be technically feasible; it must be affordable; and people must be willing to adopt it.  The Colorado Hydrogen Network aims to address all three to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen technology through initiatives and advocacy.

                                                Promote – Advocate – Educate – Accelerate

  • Technical exchange with inventors, scientists, national laboratories, universities and business

  • The exchange of business and investment opportunities

  • Help educate media, the public and local government to the important role of hydrogen in the energy transition and to win their support

Initiatives

Hydrogen Transportation System – The Colorado Hydrogen Network is helping to drive forward hydrogen for transportation by supporting the establishment of suppliers for the Fuel, Fleets for the vehicles and government grants and incentives plus investors for the Funding. Together Fuel, Fleets, and Funding form the “Three F’s” of a hydrogen transportation system.

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HydrogenNowCast podcast – With over 80 episodes released, the HydrogenNowCast helps listeners achieve an integrated understanding hydrogen and other energy forms and learn about up-and-coming technology and companies.

Hydrogen Electric Generators – Hydrogen can be used as a fuel for turbines, from small distributed-scale to utility scale, as well as a fuel internal combustion engines.  These engines can then be used to power electrical generators for on-grid and off-grid applications.  CHN is working to bring technology advice to users, and help locating infrastructure and high-volume low-cost hydrogen such as geological hydrogen.

Education, Advocacy and Public Awareness – CHN produces both monthly on-line meetings and a newsletter to provide education and networking opportunities to the stakeholders.  Director Brian DeBruine is a frequent speaker at webinars and seminars.  CHN works closely with the Colorado Energy Office and the Colorado Department of Transportation to advocate for hydrogen.  CHN also is engaged with the universities to establish workforce training as well as the grade school and high school levels for STEM training as well as the H2GP Educational Foundation.

Geological Hydrogen – Clean hydrogen can be obtained from the ground in two ways – either naturally occurring hydrogen tapped with simple wells or hydrogen generated in old petroleum wells.  In this last case, oxygen is injected into petroleum reservoirs which combines with water and hydrocarbons releasing hydrogen.  Only pure hydrogen is brought to the surface through a palladium filter.  Since all the hydrocarbons stay underground, there are no methane leaks or carbon to sequester.  In fact, these wells can sequester 3 times the CO2 as the hydrogen produced.  CHN is working to promote both of these technologies by engaging with suppliers and users such as utilities and anyone needing large quantities of low-cost hydrogen. 

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