Chesapeake Utilities offers overview of role in hydrogen hub

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Dover-based Chesapeake Utilities Corp. has offered an overview of its involvement as an anchor partner with the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2).

MACH2 was one of seven regional hydrogen hubs selected to receive an allocated share of the $7 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to accelerate the market for hydrogen in the United States. MACH could receive $750 million in federal funds matched by billions of dollars in private investment.

Chesapeake Utilities has proposed potentially producing hydrogen and delivering it to the transportation sector, providing lower-carbon alternative fuel options, such as compressed natural gas/renewable natural gas, propane autogas, and now hydrogen. With its Safety Town facility in Dover, the company will also play a role in safety and workforce training.

Existing infrastructure and ready access to feedstock resources in the Mid-Atlantic region will reduce overall hydrogen delivery costs, giving MACH2 a clear advantage and an opportunity to attract further investments in new demand segments and hub regions, a release stated. Given the high concentration of hard-to-decarbonize industries within the region, MACH2 envisions growth potential for hydrogen both in supply and demand.

One of the goals of the hub program is to use hydrogen in powering refineries, steel mills, and other energy-intensive users with hydrogen, perhaps produced with solar, wind or nuclear power.

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The Delaware, south Jersey, and Philadelphia area has refineries and other industrial plants that are candidates for hydrogen. It is also possible to use existing pipelines to transport hydrogen depending on their ability to handle the gas.

“Chesapeake Utilities is an essential partner of the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub,” said Collin O’Mara, board chair of the MACH2. “We look forward to working collaboratively with our partners on projects to produce and deploy green hydrogen that will advance both our environmental and economic goals and further position our region as a national leader in the clean energy economy.”

O’Mara is a former secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and currently heads the World Wildlife Federation.

“We are honored to be an active member of the MACH2 partnership, which will channel substantial resources into our region for advancing hydrogen projects. Being an active and engaged partner in MACH2 underscores our unwavering dedication to the local communities and customers that we serve, as we actively work to advance affordable and realistic environmentally responsible solutions that further reduce carbon emissions,” said Shane Breakie, vice president, of sustainability and organic growth, Chesapeake Utilities.

The hub’s focus will encompass the hydrogen value stream from production to end use through four main areas: training, infrastructure, reducing emissions, and job creation. Chesapeake Utilities’ role within MACH2 will touch all four areas of investment and growth, the company noted.

MACH anticipates creating 20,800 direct jobs — 14,400 in construction jobs and 6,400 permanent jobs. Further information is available at  https://mach-2.com/.

The hydrogen hub plan from the Biden Administration has critics in the environmental community who note that fossil fuels, such as natural gas, could be used to produce hydrogen. Supporters say natural gas is cleaner than other energy sources used in heavy industry.

The hydrogen program is also focusing on cleaner production. of hydrogen, which currently makes heavy use of natural gas.

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