How Rochester will help reduce carbon emissions 85% by 2050

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York State will invest $12.5 million dollars into renewable energy projects, including research into Green Hydrogen.

Hydrogen fuel cell company Plug Power is set to open a Hydrogen Gigafactory in Rochester. This is one of the forms of energy that will be used to reduce carbon emissions in New York State. Gov. Cuomo has set a goal of reducing NYS carbon emissions 85% by 2050.

“That’s a very aggressive goal, and I think it’s probably the most aggressive in the U.S.,” said Dr. Thomas Trabold, RIT Department of Sustainability Research Professor.

Brenor Brophy, Vice President of Project Development at Plug Power, said green hydrogen could help in industries that rely on diesel fuels.

“They’re an important part of decarbonizing hard to decarbonize parts of the economy. So, heavy duty transportation, heavy duty trucking, shipping, aviation, trains,” said Brophy.

To conduct research into green hydrogen and hydrogen fuels, New York State is collaborating with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The lab already works with renewable energy companies like Plug Power. Kevin Harrison, an NREL Program Manager, said the lab plans to develop and test systems to create efficient ways use green hydrogen.

“Those are the sorts of things we do to help reduce costs and increase reliability,” said Harrison.

Collaborations between NREL and other companies are beneficial, especially since renewable energies can be costly. But, Dr. Trabold said costs will come down with time.

“As you take advantage of economies of scale, and you start selling more and more systems, build up your manufacturing capacity, and your supply chain, you start moving down that cost curve,” said Dr. Trabold.

In the long run, Dr. Trabold said local renewable energy companies like plug power will benefit the city.

“It can kind of contribute to the renaissance of Rochester in a sense. I think the future looks very bright for these technologies in the local region,” said Dr. Trabold. 

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