Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a major partner from Indiana in an alliance awarded up to $1 billion in funding to develop a regional clean hydrogen production and distribution hub in the Midwest, as announced by President Biden on Oct. 13.

PNW, through its Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), will be integrally involved in the research and workforce development to create sources of clean hydrogen production that will reduce emissions from industrial sectors, including the region’s steel mills, refineries and power plants. The Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen, or MachH2, hub is one of seven selected by the U.S. Department of Energy for funding to accelerate the domestic market for low-cost, clean hydrogen.

“We at PNW are extremely proud to be part of this ground-breaking initiative that will improve the quality of life for communities throughout Northwest Indiana, the Midwest, and the country. This will also provide economic opportunities through new applications of technology that will create jobs and industrial innovations,” said Purdue Northwest Chancellor Thomas L. Keon. “The longtime efforts by CIVS, led by Dr. Chenn Zhou, to support decarbonization while improving steelmaking and other industrial processes, will continue to accelerate through the research led by CIVS faculty and students.”

Zhou, who serves as the NIPSCO Distinguished Professor of Engineering Simulation at PNW and founding director of CIVS, noted the collaboration among industry, government, research facilities and universities that led to the funding of the Midwest Hydrogen Hub.

“We are truly grateful to the many partners in MachH2 for making the vision to develop a Midwest Hydrogen Hub a reality,” Zhou said. “Our CIVS faculty and student researchers are excited to work with our industrial and research associates and community organizations to develop technology that will result in significant economic benefits for our regional communities and beyond. This project is projected to create thousands of jobs, improve air quality and advance regional and national sustainability goals. This furthers the wide-ranging impact of CIVS in developing innovative solutions for industry.”

CIVS has demonstrated a strong history of research on decarbonization processes in industrial operations. CIVS’ research has historically provided valuable solutions for clients that result in more than $40 million dollars in energy-saving solutions. It has received over $37 million in external grants and contracts to develop solutions for industry partners and has collaborated with more than 180 external organizations on over 420 projects since 2009.

Most recently, CIVS and a coalition of partners were awarded nearly $10 million from the DOE’s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office to support decarbonization research, development and demonstration in the steel industry.

The Midwest Hydrogen Hub will employ electrolysis technology, powered by carbon-free energy, to separate the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water, resulting in clean hydrogen. MachH2’s hub will become part of the DOE’s broader network of hydrogen producers, consumers and local connective infrastructure accelerating the use of clean hydrogen and delivering and storing tremendous amounts of clean energy.

Both projects support the nation’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.