West Virginia Hydrogen Plant Being Built

John Davis

YeagerAirport1A new hydrogen plant at the Yeager Airport near Charleston, West Virginia.

This story from West Virginia Public Broadcasting says the facility isn’t very big… just the size of a shed. But when it is up and running, it will help provide a corridor of the ultimately green fuel all the way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Kim Redlein is a technical consultant for Parsons Engineering, the firm that’s building the plant. He says the concept behind the structure is simple.

“Oh, it’s easy. You can do this at home tonight in your kitchen,” he said. “If you take a 9 volt little radio battery and you hook a copper wire to each electrode and stick those wires in a glass of water you’ll soon see bubbles being attracted to those wires.

“On one side you’re making hydrogen, on the other, oxygen. We’re doing the same thing here, except under slightly higher pressure and in better controlled conditions.”

The project has been undertaken and totally funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“They were interested in the airport for two reasons,” Yeager Airport director Rick Atkinson said. “One is that we are co-located with a military base, so there’re military applications. They’re working with the Air National Guard with some different equipment to test its viability in a military setting for clean fuels and alternative fuels.”

While hydrogen-powered airplanes are still a ways off in the future, airport officials plan to use hydrogen is several ground support vehicles, including some that will be provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.