HOPE GAS AND WATT FUEL CELL TO OFFER CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY TO RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMERS IN WEST VIRGINIA AS PART OF THE LOCAL APPALACHIAN REGIONAL CLEAN HYDROGEN HUB PROJECT

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Morgantown, WV, Oct. 30, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In mid-October, Senator Joe Manchin announced that the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) was selected to negotiate for funding by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive up to $925 million in federal support. Hope Gas (Hope) is excited to be a project partner and support the ARCH2 vision of a clean, economically viable and socially equitable H2 ecosystem.  As part of this project, Hope will work with WATT Fuel Cell (WATT) to provide fuel cells to residential customers in West Virginia.

 “ARCH2 provides West Virginia with the opportunity to lead the nation’s efforts to establish a hydrogen-based economy, and Hope Gas is honored to be a partner in this pivotal project,” said Morgan O’Brien, CEO of Hope Gas. The Appalachian region has abundant natural gas resources that can be leveraged for a clean energy transition and more reliable power for West Virginians in the short term. Hope Gas is working with WATT Fuel Cell to begin introducing state-of-the-art, reliable, clean energy technology to residents beginning in 2024. Hope will provide fuel cells to West Virginian homes starting in 2024 and ramping up over the next three years. Hope Gas aims to apply grant dollars under ARCH2 to reach a total of 5,300 WATT Fuel Cell potential customers.”

 West Virginia is in the top three states with electric reliability issues. Many residential customers rely on backup generators. Fuel cells will use a home’s access to the existing, reliable natural gas infrastructure to provide affordable, reliable power. If customers currently have a generator, installation of a fuel cell will be very simple.

 In addition to enhanced power reliability, fuel cells offer many environmental advantages. They do not combust natural gas. Natural gas is converted to hydrogen which in turn is converted to electricity using a chemical reaction similar to a battery. No nitrogen oxides (NOx) or sulfur oxides (SOx) are emitted from fuel cells. Out of the box, fuel cells can use a blend of natural gas and 20% hydrogen. They can be converted to use 100% hydrogen. In addition, fuel cells can be paired with solar panels to charge the batteries to provide additional power to homes.

 "Reliable, affordable and clean electricity is essential to our way of life. It supports everything in our lives: heating and cooling our homes, preparing our food, charging our smartphones, streaming our favorite shows, and now providing transportation to our jobs and getting the kids to and from school. And the demand continues to grow,” said Caine Finnerty, CEO & Founder of WATT Fuel Cell Corporation.  

 Working with Hope Gas, WATT creates the opportunity for West Virginia residents to be at the leading edge of a new, exciting way of producing electricity; using readily available, clean natural gas, Hope customers can generate power exactly where and when they need it -- right in their homes.  Our fuel cell technology will increase grid reliability, reduce CO2 emissions and give West Virginia residents power independence." 

 There are other reasons that make fuel cell technology attractive too. Because fuel cells are always on, there is no need to perform checks to ensure the unit operates correctly. It will be ready to provide electricity when there is no power from the grid.  In addition, fuel cells require less maintenance than generators because there are fewer moveable parts. They are also extremely quiet. The only noise is a cooling fan.

 “Fuel cells will give Hope Gas customers an option to have reliable electricity using natural gas in an environmentally responsible way. These fuel cells are also built to allow customers to transition to clean energy when that technology is available. Fuel cells provide our customers with electric reliability today and renewable energy options for tomorrow,” said O’Brien.

 A WATT fuel cell is being installed at the Hope Gas headquarters in Morgantown, West Virginia. The fuel cell will power the office’s auditorium. Hope Gas will be extending an invitation to media to view the operating fuel cell and learn more about the technology in late 2023.

 

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About Hope Gas: Hope Gas is a Local Distribution Company (LDC) that proudly provides gas service to approximately 125,000 residential, industrial, and commercial customers in thirty-five West Virginia counties. We monitor and maintain more than 6900 miles of pipelines that safely deliver West Virginia natural gas to many homes and commercial and industrial sites. We currently employ over 400 employees working right here in our beautiful Mountain State with the sole purpose of staying true to our company’s mission and vision in West Virginia. Learn more at HopeGas.com.

 

About Hope Utilities: Hope Utilities owns natural gas and water distribution utilities across nine states. We provide service to more than 227,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the communities we serve. We currently operate natural gas utilities in Indiana, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia; and water and wastewater utilities in Arizona, Michigan, and Texas. Hope’s growth strategy is built on being a trusted member of the communities we serve, providing our customers with safe, reliable, and cost-effective utility service. Learn more about Hope at HopeUtilities.com.

 

About WATT Fuel Cell: WATT Fuel Cell (www.wattfuelcell.com) is a manufacturer and developer of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (“SOFC”) stacks and systems that operate on common, readily available fuels such as propane and natural gas. WATT’s proprietary, patented additive manufacturing process (AMP) has allowed it to produce commercially viable SOFC products for small-scale and remote power applications. WATT’s Hybrid Power Management system works in tandem with renewable power sources (solar and wind) and energy storage to provide quiet, efficient, affordable, and environmentally responsible energy solutions prioritizing a return on investment for customers across the globe.


Erin O’Donnell
Hope Gas
847-738-3118
erin.g.odonnell@hopegas.com
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