The northern Appalachian region, covering Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, has helped America tap its energy reservoir over the past 150 years, supplying the country with its first oil and coal. Now the area’s industry is seeking to pivot, lead the country to a lower-carbon future and create new jobs along the way.
Seven companies, including GE Gas Power, have formed an alliance aiming to establish a low-carbon and hydrogen “industrial hub” for the tri-state area. The goal is to help decarbonize the industrial region by focusing on two technology pathways: hydrogen utilization and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS)—both of which can help reduce or mitigate carbon emissions from industries including power generation.
GE has decades of experience in using hydrogen-based fuels in power plants worldwide, and is helping lead projects from the United States to Australia to demonstrate hydrogen’s application as fuel blended with natural gas. Establishing a hydrogen ecosystem could drive an economic resurgence across the region, creating thousands of new jobs. The group hopes its regional collaborative approach becomes a national model for making the energy transition.
The northern Appalachian region alliance is planning to work with an array of interested parties, from industry, labor and universities to local government and nonprofit organizations. “The energy transition can only be accomplished swiftly through the industry-wide collaboration, policy support, and public demand garnered by organizations such as this alliance,” said Jeremee Wetherby, global decarbonization partnerships leader at GE Gas Power.
The member companies, in addition to GE, are EQT Corp., a natural gas producer; Equinor, a Norway-based energy company; Marathon Petroleum and partner MPLX; Mitsubishi Power, a maker of power-generation systems; Shell Polymers, which is building a petrochemical plant near Pittsburgh; and U.S. Steel, headquartered in Pittsburgh.
The alliance selected the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia region because it has world-class universities and national laboratories, as well as strong industrial roots in manufacturing, materials and energy. Its workforce is highly skilled and experienced. And it has built a strong and growing startup ecosystem.
While the work of the alliance is still in the planning process, these components are ideal for building a future of efficient, automated manufacturing powered by cleaner energy technologies, including hydrogen-fueled electric power.
Top image credit: Getty Images.