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H2HUB Summit
  • 09 May 2024 08:31 PM
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H2HUB Summit

By Danielle McLean
Vertiflite May/June 2024

In October, the US Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) across the nation and $7B in funding to accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost, clean hydrogen (see “Hydrogen Gains Ground,” Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2023).

The inaugural “H2Hub Summit: Meet the Winners,” organized by HYSKY Society, was a virtual event that brought together the DOE-selected hydrogen hubs and over 100 registrants. The half-day event took place on March 20, and highlighted the progress of each of the seven hubs.

The event began with a welcome address by Danielle McLean, CEO of HYSKY Society, followed by presentations from the hydrogen hubs. The event concluded with closing remarks by McLean. Representatives from four of the H2Hubs gave live presentations and answered questions.

Founded in 2023, HYSKY Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to advancing hydrogen aviation, emphasizing hydrogen’s role in achieving zero-emission flight. Through research and public education, HYSKY Society works to help pave the way for a future of hydrogen-powered aircraft, including drones, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and other advanced air mobility (AAM) vehicles. HYSKY Society is a spinoff of the VFS H2eVTOL Council, which was originally formed by McLean in 2020.

Dora Cheatham

H2Hub Speaker Highlights
Dora Cheatham, Vice President of Sales and Commercialization at First State Hydrogen, brought her extensive background in fostering innovation and economic growth to the forefront during her presentation on the Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (MACH2).

She shared insights into the development of MACH2 and its impact on the region and focused on its wide-ranging applications from industrial to power sectors. The presentation outlined MACH2’s goals that included securing $839M in funding and creating 13,000 jobs.

Dr. Aaron Feaver

Dr. Aaron Feaver, leader of Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNWH2), discussed the commitment of the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association (PNWH2) to community benefits by building a clean hydrogen ecosystem through collaboration with labor, tribal nations, and the public and private sectors.

Feaver also talked about PNWH2’s approach and its work with disadvantaged communities, in line with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 initiative. He also touched on the CHARGE innovation cluster (and its parent organization, JCDREAM) that is associated with PNWH2, which will help organizations work with the PNWH2.

Dr. Brian Korgel

Dr. Brian Korgel, the Energy Institute Director at the University of Texas at Austin, presented on the Gulf Coast HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub Project. He emphasized UT Austin’s role as a leader in energy innovation, with one of the nation’s largest academic hydrogen research and development programs advancing the hydrogen economy.

He highlighted the university’s significant contributions, including 360 faculty and staff, $736M in research expenditures, and 805 patents issued. Korgel stressed Texas’s role in leading the way for a future powered by hydrogen.

Prof. Jacob “Jack” Brouwer

Prof. Jacob “Jack” Brouwer, from the California Hydrogen Hub (ARCHES), highlighted ARCHES’ efforts in advancing hydrogen infrastructure across California’s energy and transport sectors. With a focus on decarbonizing industries and fostering public-private partnerships, Brouwer detailed the hub’s key projects, including hydrogen production facilities and fueling stations.

He emphasized ARCHES’ role in promoting energy resilience, job creation and meeting California’s net-zero emissions targets. Brouwer’s vision for ARCHES aims to position California as a forefront in clean hydrogen adoption.

Engagement and Participation
The summit saw over 100 registrants, a testament to the growing interest and investment in hydrogen energy and its applications across various sectors. This diverse group of attendees included professionals, policymakers, and enthusiasts, all eager to engage with the latest in hydrogen innovation.

In addition to sponsorship and support by the Vertical Flight Society, the virtual event was supported by several organizations engaging on hydrogen for transportation. These sponsors played a crucial role in supporting the summit, showcasing their commitment to fostering a hydrogen powered future.

AZUL Energy, a pioneering clean chemistry startup from Japan, develops high-performance catalysts for next generation energy systems. Founded in 2019, AZUL's innovation lies in creating catalysts that are cost-effective and free from the constraints of rare metal usage, such as platinum, making a significant contribution towards sustainable society goals.

Earth and Water Law, LLC leverages a unique blend of strategic advisory and legal expertise to navigate complex environmental and business challenges. Their team, composed of seasoned professionals with backgrounds in government and international law firms, offers comprehensive solutions across the energy sector, emphasizing legal and strategic business counseling to ensure clients stay ahead of regulatory challenges.

TO VIRIDI is at the cutting edge of developing the United States’ first on-demand hydrogen fuel network. Their technology, based on thermal catalytic processes, enables efficient hydrogen production, distribution and storage, aiming to revolutionize hydrogen accessibility with their innovative approach to leveraging existing infrastructure for seamless delivery.

The Hondo Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) — focused on stimulating economic growth in Hondo, Texas — is instrumental in attracting and supporting businesses through financial incentives and development programs. Their work is pivotal in creating a thriving economic environment that benefits both businesses and the community, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable development and job creation.

Information on VFS hydrogen efforts can be found at www.vtol.org/hydrogen.

Future HYSKY Events
Participants were also introduced to HYSKY Monthly, HYSKY Society’s initiative offering free monthly webinars on hydrogen aviation, providing ongoing education and engagement opportunities for the community. Learn more at www.hysky.org/free-webinars. Links to video recordings from each webinar have also been posted in the Hydrogen Community on the VFS Hover professional networking site.

Looking ahead, HYSKY Society announced its collaboration with the Commercial UAV Expo for FLYING HY 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. This strategic partnership aims to bring together professionals from the commercial drone and hydrogen aviation sectors. HYSKY is also offering a full-day hydrogen aviation course, the two-day FLYING HY Conference and a hydrogen pavilion, showcasing leading technology vendors. Learn more at www.expouav.com/hysky.

In addition, the H2Hub Summit will be held again next year, in March 2025, with an annual update from each of the selected H2Hubs.

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