GASTONIA & CARY – Dominion Energy is conducting an analysis to see which of their two North Carolina training facilities, in Gastonia and in Cary, will be the site of a new pilot project led by their research and development team to advance how hydrogen can be used as a clean energy source that could reduce emissions from the company’s customers’ homes.

The company is making significant investments in hydrogen with the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 while supporting the decarbonization of manufacturing and transportation, according to press statements issued this week.

“Hydrogen is a huge innovation in clean energy,” said Mark Webb, Chief Innovation Officer at Dominion Energy.  “Few other energy sources have the potential to do so much good, so broadly across the economy. We’re investing in hydrogen today so it can hopefully transform the clean energy landscape in 5 or 10 years.”

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The proposed pilot project would be the company’s second such testing site—the other is in Utah at the company’s Training Academy—and is under review by the North Carolina Utilities Commission.  The company anticipates that with approval, the project would begin in 2022.

The proposal is to deploy a pilot project at one of the two North Carolina sites, blending in five percent hydrogen in test systems housed at the facility. That’s because in the existing research, the range for testing blending hydrogen is at that level, said company spokesperson Persida Montanez in an interview with WRAL TechWire.

The company will test at a small scale, noted Montanez, who said the company hopes to make this a clean energy resource that is available to North Carolinians.

“The real-world benefit of hydrogen—and why this first step is so important—is that hydrogen has the potential to reduce the carbon intensity of traditional natural gas, especially with hydrogen sourced from excess wind and solar energy,” said Montanez. “In some ways, it reminds me of what the ethanol-gasoline blend does to help drive down emissions, but hydrogen can help decarbonize numerous industries,” added Montanez.

The company is already planning to acquire the infrastructure it needs in order to implement the pilot project, upon approval.  The research will include how the hydrogen blend will interact with gas lines and appliances.

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