Comment Sustainability

New project in Utah generates hydrogen from reclaimed methane gas

By Mary Page Bailey |

Power Innovations (American Fork, Utah) announced an agreement with Big Navajo Energy (BNE) to support the reclamation of methane gas from petroleum drilling sites and to convert the fossil fuel into a clean renewable source of energy in the form of hydrogen gas. Power Innovations will also supply BNE with hydrogen-powered equipment to help with operations, storage, and transportation of excess hydrogen to be sold to BNE customers.

“We are proud to be a driving force in moving our country forward to a leading global position in the growing renewable energy economy. Working with energy producers like Big Navajo Energy is more than just about creating operational efficiencies or improving supply chains — it’s an opportunity to expand market choices, positively impact the environment, and create economic opportunities in southern Utah and beyond,” said Robert Mount, President and CEO of Power Innovations.

Traditionally, methane found alongside petroleum is converted into non-renewable products, such as gasoline or jet fuel, or injected back into the ground. Methane that is too remote or too expensive to be collected is either vented into the atmosphere or burned off at the site — resulting in the release of harmful greenhouse gasses into the environment and a waste of a valuable commodity. With this agreement, Power Innovations and Big Navajo Energy will change how methane is treated at the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas’ extraction site near Bluff, Utah. Now, instead of venting or burning 80,000 cubic feet of gas daily, the methane will be converted into hydrogen for a multitude of uses.

Power Innovations will provide Big Navajo Energy with a variety of green solutions to support the compression, storage, transportation, and export of hydrogen gas for use by their customers. In addition, Power Innovations will offer BNE equipment that is powered by ydrogen, including fuel cell systems for powering wells. “I envision the Navajo as being one of the largest developers of hydrogen production and providers for the increasing demands for this cleaner source of fuel here in Utah and across the country,” said Dory Peters, President and CEO, Big Navajo Energy.

Hydrogen produces no CO2 or other greenhouse gases when implemented in fuel cells, only water and heat. That not only makes for a greener future – but opens up new possibilities. “Imagine a neighborhood that is powered completely by hydrogen and maintains plant greenhouses with that water and heat. Or businesses that are able to meet their long-range sustainability goals practically overnight by moving away from fossil fuels to hydrogen fuel cells,” said Robert Mount. “Further, hydrogen fuel cells are quiet, virtually maintenance free, and long lasting. This is sustainability like we’ve never seen before.”

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