Image: KeyState Zero

Perry Babb hopes KeyState Zero can bridge the gap between economic development and environmental concerns by serving the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions with lower-carbon, lower-cost solutions for manufacturers, power plants and other industries. In the process, the proposed project could bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in economic output for Happy Valley and surrounding areas. Beyond its economic impact, Babb, the project’s Chairman & Acting CEO, expects KeyState to become a hub for academic research for Penn State and other universities and for career training at the high school and college levels.

HappyValley Industry: What is KeyState Zero?

Babb: KeyState Zero is a carbon capture, use and storage project to produce hydrogen and a variety of other low-carbon, greenhouse gas-reduction, and energy transition products.

The project includes a proposed $400mm manufacturing facility near Happy Valley in Clinton County which will use onsite natural gas in onsite manufacturing with onsite CO2 capture and geological storage—a first for Pennsylvania.   

HappyValley Industry: Why is that important?

Integrating natural gas production and CO2 capture and storage is the future of Pennsylvania’s natural gas production and a low-carbon economy.

Babb: Integrating natural gas production and CO2 capture and storage is the future of Pennsylvania’s natural gas production and a low-carbon economy. KeyState will demonstrate Pennsylvania’s potential for geological storage of CO2 on a massive, multi-generational scale and thereby introduce a new longterm industry into the Marcellus Region.

KeyState is emblematic of America’s energy transition and will help usher in the Hydrogen economy.

HappyValley Industry: Can you talk more about the energy transition and the role of this project?

Babb: KeyState will show that it’s possible to bridge the fossil energy economy and the coming hydrogen economy without industry upheaval and jobs destruction. The project is a bridge between job concerns and climate concerns, between economic development goals and emissions-reduction goals. It will prove that an orderly and successful transition to a low-carbon future is possible.

HappyValley Industry: For someone who isn’t familiar with carbon capture, can you be more specific about the end-products that KeyState will produce and for whom?

Babb: KeyState will capture CO2 generated in the manufacturing process and permanently sequester the gas onsite, many thousands of feet underground, by a safe and proven technology, with more than a 40 year dependable track record. The result is a displacement of higher-carbon-higher priced products with lower-carbon-lower-priced products for various industries and energy uses. Here are a few examples:

  • Low-Carbon ‘Blue’ Hydrogen/’Blue’ Ammonia for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and power generation
  • Lower-Carbon-Lower-Cost Ammonia for a wide range of industrial, medical and manufacturing uses
  • Low-Carbon Nitrogen fertilizer, with an approximately 50% reduction in CO2 per ton of fertilizer
  • Exhaust treatment for power plants and diesel engines which eliminates 90%+ NOx and other GHG emissions

HappyValley Industry: How will the project impact the area?

Babb: According to a recent Pennsylvania Manufacturing Association study, a gas synthesis plant at our proposed site in Clinton County would generate 526 permanent jobs and $260,000,000 in annual economic output. Plus, this would represent a generational economic opportunity for a four-county area in and around Happy Valley: Clinton, Clearfield, Cameron and Centre. Nearby universities, including Penn State, will utilize the facility for academic research and internships, and local vocational training and high schools will become part of apprenticeship programs.

The project is a bridge between job concerns and climate concerns, between economic development goals and emissions-reduction goals. It will prove that an orderly and successful transition to a low-carbon future is possible.

In addition, with this location, KeyState enjoys structural competitive advantages in gas feedstock costs, and proximity to customers as the only similar manufacturer in a 13-state region of the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic, and the only manufacturer with carbon capture and storage.

HappyValley Industry: Who is involved in the project and what’s the timeline?

Babb: KeyState is a joint venture of Frontier Natural Resources and KeyState Opportunity, with several strategic industry partnerships. Offices are in Bellefonte, with project offices soon to be open in Innovation Park to facilitate the research and workforce development efforts with Penn State.  

Development Phase I & Preliminary Engineering is complete with more than a year of engineering and permitting to come, then 2 to 2.5 years of construction with commercial operations projected for 2024/25.