Dominion Energy: The Innovator
The race to clean energy has begun, and this contender might come as a surprise to some due to its lack of publicity; hydrogen energy. What makes hydrogen special? Well, compared to the more traditional energy source, gasoline, hydrogen has a smaller environmental footprint and has many uses once it has been produced; most notably in cars, houses, and even spaceships. The reason that this alternative energy hasn’t gained mainstream popularity yet is due largely to cost, but we’ll touch on that later on.
One company, Dominion Energy, is looking to make a name for hydrogen in the alternative energy realm.
Headquartered in Richmond, VA and servicing over 7 million customers across the USA, Dominion Energy has branded itself as being a leader in sustainable energy innovation and has heavily invested in the future of hydrogen energy. Their goal is to grow awareness around this alternative energy and use it to help the company along its journey of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Currently, Dominion Energy is the lead sponsor in the Low Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI), a program paving the way for hydrogen energy in the green sector. Their 5-year plan is to raise $100 million dollars that will be used to further the research and development of hydrogen energy and focus on ways to incorporate it into everyday uses.
The company has also begun to develop pilot projects throughout parts of the country to test the real-life efficiency of hydrogen. So far, they have implemented this into their training program in Utah, where they are utilizing a 5% blend mixed into gas lines and appliances. The desired results will give Dominion Energy a deeper knowledge of how well the two energy sources interact with one another. If all goes well, the pilot will soon move onto its next step of implementation by incorporating that 5% blend into larger systems that will power over one million of their customers state-wide.
Hydrogen: The Powerhouse
With hydrogen energy, the possibilities are limitless. This form of energy still emits greenhouse gasses; albeit far less than its counterpart, traditional energy. That being said, when produced using other forms of green energy such as wind, solar or nuclear, hydrogen energy emits a grand total of zero greenhouse gas emissions. This is due largely because hydrogen acts as a carrier energy that can aid in the movement, storage, and delivery of energy produced from other sources, such as those previously stated. The combining of hydrogen with another energy source allows for the positives of both to be utilized, resulting in the aforementioned net zero emissions.
The benefits of using hydrogen energy are abundant. Hydrogen is quite common throughout the globe. This prevalence means that hydrogen can be sourced locally, resulting in lower transportation emissions and an overall lower environmental footprint. The alternative energy is also more efficient when compared to its counterparts, even having almost double the amount of efficiency in some cases. For example, when compared to a traditional combustion-based power plant that runs at 33-35% efficiency, hydrogen can be generated at up to 65% efficiency, proving to be far more competent.
Another benefit is that the production of hydrogen energy, via the common way of thermal processing, results in by-products that are considered to be safe and non-toxic to both humans and the environment. So, between the large advantage in efficiency, the potential for zero emissions, the abundance, and the zero-toxicity of by-products, you might begin to see why hydrogen has the potential to be the underdog of the world of green energy.
So, What’s The Catch?
Well, one of the biggest reasons that hydrogen hasn’t hit the mainstream green energy world yet is that even with its abundance, it is still a relatively expensive energy form to produce. The possibility within this is that over time, with the proper funding, there is potential for the expense of hydrogen to decrease, similarly to what happened with solar energy throughout the past two decades.
Another large downside to hydrogen, especially in comparison to gasoline, is that it lacks no smell. This can be extremely dangerous when taken into consideration the fact that hydrogen is flammable, which means any leak would go undetected and could potentially result in a very unfortunate event.
The innovation behind hydrogen is truly fascinating and ever-growing. With its potential to produce zero greenhouse gas emissions and high efficiency, it seems that there is certainly a possibility for growth. In addition, as with anything, there are positives and negatives to take into consideration; it is up to you to decide which you think outweighs the other. In regard to Dominion Energy investing in the future of hydrogen power, the outcome can create a domino effect as other energy companies would now be looking to compete with that competitive advantage. This would ultimately benefit the environment and help to curb the effects of climate change, which is very promising.