Leading Renewable Resource Ideas

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

Two atoms of hydrogen plus one atom of oxygen equals one water molecule. But when the formula is changed to hydrogen plus an idea that equals a huge business opportunity for Rockford.

We've heard of wind farms and more recently how swine waste changes to watts but Rockford is taking the lead on ways to use hydrogen. Executive Director of the Northwest Chicagoland Regional Airport Bob O’Brien says, "Hydrogen is one of those applications that you can convert to heat, electricity, and actually propulsion fuel. Hydrogen is a limitless molecule in the environment."

3,000 acres at the Rockford airport will be the site for a hydrogen fueling station. This is an innovative idea that is the first of its kind in the nation.

O'Brien tells 23 News "One place you can count on wind blowing is at the airport. So we'd like to take a wind turban and instead of electricity produce hydrogen."

This clean technology would first help the airport to become more independent and less dependent on fossil fuels.

Chet Kolodziej with Focus on Solutions and part of the research team says, "We are going to make enough hydrogen to store it and run at least four vehicles."

Through a $65,000 research grant this group has been studying how a hydrogen economy in Rockford would work. This is a concept that could mean huge growth in the manufacturing industry and the potential of creating more jobs.

Kolodziej says, "90% of what goes into the cell are things were make here like nuts, bolts, screws, and piping. This is not complicated."

Hydrogen will not replace oil, but in the future we could have more choices to fuel up.

Research will be complete in two more months. Project leaders will then apply for a construction grant.


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