HANNIBAL, Ohio (WTRF)

It was a dark day in 2013, when Ormet filed for bankruptcy and 1500 workers lost their jobs.

Now, a new industry on that same property in Hannibal was celebrated, and it was no coincidence that it happened on Earth Day.

Long Ridge Energy is now being called the most efficient power plant in the world.

“This past week, we completed a project to actually displace some of the natural gas with hydrogen,’ said Mark Barry, program manager. “So we’re producing carbon-free power.”

Right now, they use 5% hydrogen.

By 2030, they plan to use 100% hydrogen.

“We intend to steadily increase the amount of hydrogen we’re burning, displacing natural gas and providing reliable power for consumers here in Ohio,” Barry said.

Right now they produce 485 megawatts of power and send it out on transmission lines.

“That’s about a couple hundred thousand homes’ worth of power for homes and businesses,” Barry explained.

Representatives from the Ohio governor and several U.S. senators praised the project.

“As chairman of the Energy Committee, Senator Manchin will continue to push for advancing the use of clean hydrogen technologies,” said Andrew Robinson.

It is drawing interest around the world, from energy firms like Equinor of Norway.

“You would wonder why a Norwegian company is looking at the Ohio Valley,” said Karen Matusic, Equinor external affairs director. “We think we have all the elements here to really make this energy transition to clean energy. We have the resources, we have the experience in extractive industries, we have the trained workers.”

Visitors from the local, state and federal government said this was an exciting day for the Ohio Valley and the nation—seeing the first power plant in the country run by hydrogen.