A new site of hydrogen production and dispensing has opened at Yeager Airport in Charleston, West Virginia with the support of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). This is extremely exciting news for West Virginia and its surrounding region, as this facility is the first leg in the Charleston-Morgantown-Pittsburgh Hydrogen Corridor, bringing hydrogen-power closer to a viable consumer option for this region.
Hydrogen does not produce air pollutants and clean water is its only byproduct. Hydrogen is one of the fuels of the future.
Ann Barth, a representative from the office of U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-WV, expressed common goals for both groups in the desire to reduce greenhouse gases and to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil through the production of hydrogen fuel. Other representatives attended the opening of the faulty including Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV, local officials, WVU representatives and others.
The facility will use coal-generated grid electricity to split water to produce pure hydrogen fuel. The fuel will be used by Yeager Airport operations, the West Virginia Air National Guard, and the Charleston community. Major General Allen Tackett, on hand for the facilities opening, said one reason for locating this first facility at the airport was because of the presence of the U.S. Air National Guard’s 130th Airlift Wing. “The biggest energy user in the U.S. is the Department of Defense,” he said. “The 130th Airlift Wing is a natural user.”
NETL directs research and development of hydrogen energy use. Two years of testing and evaluation will be conducted at the facility.
Along with the new hydrogen-dispensing facility in Charleston, WV, there are plans for additional facilities to be constructed at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV, and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen as an alternative transportation fuel.