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Clean hydrogen company wins Reinventing DE contest

Sam HautGovernment, Headlines

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A company that would build a plant in Delaware to create clean hydrogen won the 2023 Reinventing Delaware program sponsored by the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation.

If implemented, a manufacturing plant would use fresh water in an electrolysis process that splits water into hydrogen gas and oxygen gas.

The idea championed by Andrew Cottone, CEO of Adesis, a chemistry contract development and research organization, won the group $15,000 to pursue the idea.

Clean Hydrogen was one of four projects in the running for the title.

The three other top ideas include Spotlight Delaware, championed by Allison Levine;  zero homelessness, by Jeffrey Ronald and Judson Malone; and #Move2Delaware, by Linda Parkowski, Shelly Cecchett, Scott Malfitano and Troy Mix.

“While all four ideas will make Delaware better, Clean Hydrogen was clearly the boldest,” said Thère du Pont, board chair of the foundation, named for his father and former Delaware governor.

In order for Cottone to claim the prize money, he must start a company that will develop the idea of clean hydrogen.

That could include the first wind-sourced hydrogen electrolysis plant in the country. Byproducts of the process, heavy and semi-heavy water, would also be used in some way.

Cottone and his team are in the process of submitting an application to the US Department of Energy for consideration for the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub, a foundation press release said.

That hub was created in response to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will award $7 billion to establish up to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across the country.

Related Story: Freedom Award to honor MBNA, innovation winner

Efforts were unsuccessful Friday to reach Cottone for comment.

Stephanie Johnnie, executive director of the Pete duPont Freedom Foundation, said the money that winners receive is less important than the resources provided during the six month competition.

All the contestants receive about $25,000 work of technical assistance and support, she said.

“This prize money is really just sprinkles on top of the sundae,” she said.

This year’s program started at an October dinner during which 100 people pitched ideas. A winner was chosen from those and a committee was formed to choose finalists. 

Johnnie said organizers take into consideration feasibility and job creation.

“That’s a big one there…with a manufacturing plant being built in Delaware that’s thousands, hundreds of thousands of jobs,” she said.

The prize money comes from donations from the dinner and from the foundation’s annual Freedom Award dinner.

Spotlight Delaware and zero homelessness have already launched their programs, while #Move2Delaware plans to launch sometime within the next month or two.

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