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Pittsburgh Poised to Drive Next-Gen Sustainable Aviation

PIT Airport to add another industry-defining facility.

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By Positive Energy Hub staff

Ten years ago, CNX and the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) forged a groundbreaking alliance that released a tidal wave of innovation. Developing abundant natural gas beneath the airport runways not only led to PIT being the world’s first airport using a microgrid completely powered by natural gas and solar, but it also propelled the Pittsburgh region as one of the world’s foremost symbols of sustainability and resilience.

This week marked yet another milestone between the two local entities, along with project developer KeyState Energy, with the formal announcement of development plans for the PIT Hydrogen and SAF Hub, a large-scale hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) facility.

The fugitive methane (CMM) captured by CNX will serve as the primary input for the process, yielding a SAF product capable of significantly slashing the carbon footprint of air travel over its lifecycle. This initiative not only generates local employment opportunities but also spearheads the energy transition in a way that uniquely suits the Pittsburgh region, building upon CNX and PIT’s announced alternative fuels initiative in 2022.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) between CNX and KeyState is the first step in the ~$1.5 billion project development process (contingent, of course, upon the outcome of U.S. Treasury’s 45V hydrogen production tax credit).

Key partnership details include:

  • Construct a facility that produces approximately 70 million gallons annually of gas-to-liquids alternative fuel utilizing on-site natural gas blended with ultra-low carbon intense waste methane (CMM). A facility of the proposed size and scope could produce enough SAF to supplant nearly all traditional jet fuel consumption at PIT at a price competitive with conventional Jet A.
  • Support 3,000 direct construction jobs, , through the development phase of the estimated $1.5 billion project. “First and foremost, we would not be in position to announce this project without the support and advocacy of our western PA labor leaders, and we are not going to proceed without them on this or any other hydrogen or SAF project in the region," said Nick Deiuliis, President & CEO of CNX Resources. "Our goal is to expand end-use opportunities of our abundant, ultra-low carbon intensity natural gas to drive further emission reductions, create good paying, local jobs, and enhance PIT’s position as an innovative sustainable fuel hub."
  • Seek a federal FAST SAF grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct a Tier 1 logistics study that informs how fuels produced at PIT can be cost-effectively transported to nearby airports including Dulles, JFK, Newark Liberty, O’Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, and Philadelphia International Airport, among others. Successful logistics study completion could yield significant investment in constructing the hydrogen/SAF facility on PIT grounds, which would double onsite fuel storage and further stabilize fuel supply in the event of disruptions.
  • Clarify the product meets requirements and specifications of the applicable agency determining whether a product officially qualifies as SAF.

“If all goes well, CNX, KeyState and PIT could be among the leaders in the production of hydrogen as SAF, which is the term for much-cleaner and greener fuel for airliners and other airplanes,” the Pittsburgh Business Times reported.

“The transportation industry has one of the toughest challenges, in scale and cost, to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”

Never one to shy away from a challenge, CNX – with the backing of bipartisan supporters, including local and national organized labor leaders and the Pittsburgh business community – is ready and excited to tackle this issue head on.

“This project is the economic shot in the arm the region needs and I'm proud of the diverse coalition working to make Pittsburgh the leader in hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel,” said Darrin Kelly, President of the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

“Establishing a hub for hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel at the Pittsburgh International Airport is a transformational milestone in our energy and transportation future, and I commend the public, private and labor leaders involved in bringing this opportunity to fruition” Matt Smith, Chief Growth Officer of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development said.

Read and learn more about the PIT Hydrogen and SAF Hub at SAFPittsburgh.com.

PIT Hydrogen SAF Hub | Sustainable aviation fuel | Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Airport Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
PIT Hydrogen SAF Hub is a groundbreaking hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel hub planned for the Pittsburgh International Airport producing purity hydrogen and alternative fuels to reduce aviation emissions and lower the cost of jet fuel, reduce the carbon footprint of air travel and other hard-to-abate modes of transportation, and create family-sustaining, local jobs.
PIT Hydrogen SAF Hub


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A CNX news hub highlighting all aspects of our Appalachia First vision. Subscribe for insights on energy innovation, advocacy, and community engagement across the region.