Ohio has long been at the forefront of innovation in the energy industry, and that’s no exception with recent advances in efficiency and green technologies. Hydrogen is one such area with vast capabilities and fast-growing applications in the automotive and manufacturing industries. Dayton startup Millennium Reign Energy is revolutionizing those applications to make hydrogen even more accessible for the individual and broadening the way it can be used to power our daily lives.
“Before I started working with hydrogen, I was a farmer and a mechanic, so I started thinking about how to design a system where your home could use hydrogen as renewable energy and be completely energy independent and off the grid,” CEO and founder Chris McWhinney said. “Now, my team and I have been developing systems and selling them all over the world. We’re also doing business with the U.S. Army, Navy, and original equipment manufacturers.”
McWhinney’s journey began in 2003, when he filed a provisional patent for a residential hydrogen power plant. That system has now evolved into renewable smart micro grids called Earth Stations. These commercialized hydrogen products are designed to easily provide energy to homes and businesses and help people reduce their dependence on external energy infrastructure.
“We have 16 products that carry a certificate of attestation through CSA Group out of Cleveland, Ohio, which says these products meet all the codes and standards to be put out and operate safely in a public setting,” McWhinney said. “Our systems do the five things that you need for hydrogen fueling infrastructure. They make the hydrogen, purify it to fuel cell grade, compress it to a certain PSI, store the hydrogen, and dispense it into a vehicle.”
It doesn’t stop there for the startup. To make hydrogen even more accessible and revolutionize how automotive emissions are reduced, the company is working on a project to create a Transcontinental Hydrogen Highway, which will comprise 27 hydrogen fueling stations from New York to Los Angeles.
“I believe that hydrogen will be the renewable energy source that the entire world operates on decades from now,” he said. “Electric vehicles still produce emissions, but from a different location than the tailpipe. The ultimate goal is to create hydrogen via a wind and solar plant, which can then be used in your car at any time. Instead of fueling in eight hours like a battery, it could fuel in minutes with even less emissions.”
Operating on the cutting edge isn’t new territory for Millennium Reign Energy. And for McWhinney, Ohio resources have long been a big part of the innovation process, from funding early on in the patent process, to the in-house manufacturing and local vendors used by the company today.
“It’s important to us to have vendors here locally because I can work with the technician, make sure they’re getting the right parts, and work with them on quality control,” he said. “There are a lot of machine shops here, which means working with a lot of creative people, and the cost of living in the Midwest helps to lower the cost of the overall product. Ohio is a great place to do business.”