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Recent Trends in the Emerging Hydrogen Economy

Event Type
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center
Sep 10, 2020   12:00 - 1:00 pm  
Timothy C. Lindsey, Ph.D. - Senior Advisor at SEDAC
Elizabeth Meschewski
Originating Calendar
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center Events

Abstract: There is growing worldwide interest in developing and deploying new clean technologies to combat global warming. Great progress has been made with respect to the deployment of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, but challenges persist with respect to intermittency and our inability to cost-effectively store energy generated during peak production for use when renewable energy production is not feasible. Similarly, vehicle electrification has emerged as a key strategy for achieving climate-related goals, but storing adequate energy in batteries has proven to be challenging for applications requiring large machines and extended operating periods.

The use of hydrogen as a medium to store, transport, and dispense energy has been around for decades but early versions of hydrogen technologies did not meet the expectations of users and investors. However, the potential for using hydrogen remains high and product developers have made great strides in recent years to improve the performance and economics of hydrogen-based technologies. Fuel cell-powered cars and buses are increasingly prevalent on the roads of California, Europe, and Asia and many countries have announced plans for wide-scale deployment. Additionally, new markets for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are emerging in new sectors because they are difficult to decarbonize by other means. Industries such as; trucking, rail, maritime, aviation, steel production and industrial heating now show great promise for hydrogen-based technologies. With the development of these markets, it is projected that hydrogen could become a $130-$170 billion dollar a year industry in the U.S. by 2050. These emerging hydrogen and fuel cells markets present a unique opportunity to stimulate economic growth and improve environmental health.

This presentation will discuss recent trends with respect to hydrogen production and utilization technologies. Private sector hydrogen investments and technology deployment will be discussed along with opportunities to engage in hydrogen research at the University of Illinois and throughout the Midwest.

Biography: Dr. Tim Lindsey serves as a Senior Advisor to the University of Illinois Smart Energy Design and Assistance Center where he researches and leads strategic energy initiatives. For over 40 years, Dr. Lindsey has helped organizations increase their competitiveness through improved sustainability performance in their processes, products, and systems. He is an accomplished program and project manager with experience in multiple sectors, including: manufacturing, energy, biofuels, agriculture, food processing, mining, chemical processing, and electronics. Dr. Lindsey is an internationally recognized expert regarding the use of sustainability principles to drive innovation. He served as Caterpillar’s first Global Director of Sustainability from 2012 to 2016 where he successfully championed the company’s transformational change to recognize sustainability as their 5th core value. During this transformation, he worked closely with various business units to implement sustainability principles throughout the corporate value chain. This included corporate roles (research, product development, human resources, accounting, strategy, and risk) and operational functions (supply chain, manufacturing, quality, logistics, dealerships, and customer operations).

Prior to his Caterpillar career, Dr. Lindsey spent 20 years at the University of Illinois' Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, where he led their sustainability research, education, and outreach efforts. In his roles there, he worked with hundreds of companies across multiple sectors to improve their sustainability performance. Prior to his work with the U of I, Dr. Lindsey was with Exxon for 7 years in the Powder River Basin at one of the world’s largest mining operations. He served Exxon in the roles of Reclamation Manager, Safety Director, and Senior Project manager where he supervised the activities of 40 contractors and over 1,000 personnel.


Dr. Lindsey has authored multiple publications on sustainable business innovation, energy efficiency, alternative energy, alternative fuels development, and in July, of 2017, his book titled Headwinds of Opportunity: A Compass for Sustainable Innovation was published by Routledge and won the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award for Sustainability.  Dr. Lindsey holds 3 U.S. patents regarding industrial fluids management and water purification. In January of 2016, he founded Highlander Innovation Inc., where he and his colleagues help businesses drive and implement more sustainable innovation and strategy.

He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Environmental Engineering from Southern Illinois University and a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois.

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