Pittsburgh International Airport Developing $1.5B Hydrogen and Sustainable Aviation Fuel Production Facility

May 17, 2024
While the facility can produce hydrogen solely at 68,000 metric tons annually or SAF solely at 70 million gallons annually, the plant will offer the flexibility to produce both simultaneously at varying individual volumes depending on production demands

Pittsburgh International Airport has partnered with KeyState Energy and CNX Resources to develop a $1.5 billion hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production facility on the airport's property. 

While the facility can produce hydrogen solely at 68,000 metric tons annually or SAF solely at 70 million gallons annually, the integrated plant will offer the flexibility to produce both products simultaneously at lower varying individual volumes depending on specific production demands. 

"Because of this exciting new project, Pittsburgh International Airport will become home to one of the largest facilities in the Nation that specializes in the innovative process of using hydrogen gas to produce sustainable aviation fuel," said Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey. "It will help support thousands of new union jobs and provide a look at how cutting-edge innovation in Pennsylvania is helping to build the energy economy of the future."

The partners are evaluating several potential market targets for using SAF in the aviation industry and clean hydrogen for local heavy trucks and equipment, power generation, and other applications for hard-to-abate sectors. 

Additionally, the companies are seeking federal funds from the FAST SAF grant under the Inflation Reduction Act to study how fuels produced at the airport can be cost-effectively transported to nearby airports throughout the Northeast and Midwest. This includes evaluating transportation modes such as using existing or constructing new pipeline infrastructure, barge, and rail, allowing excess SAF to be delivered to other regional airports. 

"Pittsburgh is once again leading the way on energy toward a more sustainable future," said Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis. "Increasing SAF and hydrogen production in the U.S. is a necessary first step in reducing carbon output to meet upcoming industry goals, helping aviation earn its right to grow and moving further toward a cleaner, greener future."

Produced from a variety of sources, including waste feedstocks, SAF holds the potential to drastically reduce the aviation industry's lifecycle carbon emissions. However, production and cost issues remain a significant barrier to entry, resulting in SAF currently accounting for less than 1% of global commercial airline consumption. 

Pittsburgh International Airport projects that its production facility would be of adequate size and scope to produce enough SAF to supplant nearly all traditional jet fuel consumption at the airport at a price comparable with conventional Jet A. 

"As the only state to secure two regional clean hydrogen hubs, the future of clean energy is running through Pennsylvania, and as we build out these hydrogen hubs over the next several years, we'll see more innovation, job creation, and opportunity coming to our Commonwealth," said Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro. "We're proving that you don't have to choose between protecting the planet and protecting jobs – Pittsburgh International Airport will create thousands of jobs and cut fuel costs for airlines, all while reducing pollution and making our communities safer and healthier."

About the Author

Breanna Sandridge, Senior Editor

Breanna Sandridge is senior editor for EnergyTech and Microgrid Knowledge, both part of the energy group at Endeavor Business Media.

Prior to that, Breanna was managing editor for Machinery Lubrication and Reliable Plant magazines, both part of Noria Corp. She has two years experience covering the industrial sector.

She also is a 2021 graduate of Northeastern State University (Oklahoma) with a Bachelor's in English. 

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