CNX Resource Corp. and Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) formed a partnership on May 20 to convert natural gas produced at the airport into alternative fuel, aiming to further reduce carbon emissions in the transportation industry, a press release announced on May 24.

The Canonsburg, Pa.-based E&P has developed proprietary technology to cost-effectively convert on-site dry natural gas into LNG, CNG and electricity for various uses, including as a hydrogen feedstock. PIT will implement these technologies to reduce local emissions and further reduce operating costs at the airport.

"We will produce, process, and consume these natural gas-based products locally first, and, in doing so, unleash countless downstream economic opportunities and help jumpstart the hydrogen economy, leverage the region's unrivalled work ethic, create family-sustaining jobs, better the region's underserved communities and revitalize Appalachia's middle class in a new, lower carbon economic ecosystem," CNX president and CEO Nick Deluliis commented in the release.

As part of the agreement, CNX will develop the Utica shale on airport property, representing the first wells from this formation completed and brought into production in Allegheny County. The Utica shale yields a dry gas which is more easily converted into LNG and CNG alternative fuels and hydrogen.

The strategy also envisions a sustainable fuel hub at PIT utilizing locally sourced, lower-cost, lower-carbon intensity LNG and CNG fueling depots for airlines, transit, cargo, fleet, military and other energy-intensive business purposes.

"We feel that natural gas and derivative products provide a path for the transportation industry both to reduce carbon emissions in the short-term while working toward a goal of net-zero in the long-term as hydrogen and other potential solutions mature," PIT CEO Christina Cassotis added.

CNX began its natural gas development-related activities at the airport in 2014, bringing its Marcellus shale wells into production in 2016 with the airport sharing the resulting revenue. The airport would similarly collect revenue from new drilling within the new agreement.

The agreement comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf about a statewide initiative to secure a hydrogen hub and large-scale carbon storage system in Pennsylvania, bringing further partnership opportunities to PIT.