Pittsburgh airport to get $1.5B CNX hydrogen fuel production plant if this happens

Pittsburgh airport to get $1.5B CNX hydrogen fuel production plant if this happens

May 22, 2024 0 By Erin Kilgore

The natural gas producer is aiming to build the facility if it is able to tick some critical financial boxes

CNX Resources, the natural gas producer, has announced its intentions to build a $1.5 billion hydrogen fuel production plant at the Pittsburgh airport. That said, according to the company, this will only happen if the coal mine methane-based process is able to qualify for tax credits from the federal government as a part of the Biden administration’s climate change strategy.

The project is likely to face scrutiny from several directions

The proposed hydrogen fuel production facility is backed by labor unions in the Pittsburgh area, as it has the potential to open up thousands of new construction jobs.  US Senator Bob Casey and other officials in Pennsylvania have also voiced their support for the project.

That said, climate change and clean energy activists are likely to criticize central components of this project due to key factors such as the way the H2 will be produced, as it will generate greenhouse gas emissions.

CNX’ announcement arrived as further details are coming together regarding how the Biden administration will determine which projects qualify for billions of dollars in tax credits aimed at expanding the clean H2 industry as a fossil fuel alternative. That program’s goal is to support decarbonization to support the battle against climate change.

Will the hydrogen fuel production facility be clean enough?

According to CNX, the facility will take methane vented from coal mines out of the atmosphere.  Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas.  The facility would blend the methane with natural gas in order to produce airline fuel based on H2, which would allow flights to be powered considerably more cleanly than conventional jet fuel at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

Hydrogen fuel production - Pittsburgh International Airport - KPIT terminal building under construction April 2024

“We want to produce our gas here, use it here to solve complex problems,” said CNX president of new technologies Ravi Srivastava, “and this is one of those that addresses a really hard problem to solve: decarbonizing aviation is a challenge.”

The partnerships

hydrogen news ebookFor this hydrogen fuel production project to happen, CNX is collaborating with KeyState Energy and the airport itself.  KeyState is already building an H2 facility in the northern part of the state. There, the H2 is being made using natural gas, a product called grey hydrogen.

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