SoCal Gas announces new project to show benefits of clean fuels

The Southern California Gas Co. on Friday announced a proposed collaboration with UC Irvine to demonstrate on the university’s campus how clean fuels like renewable hydrogen could be delivered at scale through California’s existing natural gas system. .

If approved, SoCalGas could begin testing hydrogen blending at the UCI as early as 2024.

“The use of existing natural gas networks to transport renewable hydrogen is actively sought after around the world, as clean fuels like hydrogen can perform many of the critical tasks that natural gas performs today,” said said Neil Navin, vice president of clean energy innovations at SoCalGas. .

“This demonstration project provides a real-world environment to better understand how clean fuel blends can be delivered to customers connected to the gas grid today. It can also help us assess how to more quickly deploy advanced technologies critical to the state’s climate and clean air goals, such as neighborhood microgrids that promote reliability and resilience.

The project builds on the California Public Utilities Commission “Hydrogen Blending Impacts Study”. The study recommended testing hydrogen blending in a real environment as an important step toward establishing a California hydrogen blending standard, which could accelerate the clean energy and resilience goals of the State.

As proposed, the UCI would use an electrolyser to convert water into hydrogen to be mixed with the existing gas grid on certain sections of campus. The demonstration would power existing residential and light commercial equipment, including water heaters, boilers, furnaces and furnaces in university buildings, student facilities and housing. The project would initially blend 5% hydrogen, with the goal of gradually increasing the hydrogen blend to 20%, resulting in potentially significant CO2 emissions reductions, according to SoCal Gas.

“Research at UCI has shown that we cannot achieve high utilization of renewable energy without the characteristics of hydrogen,” said Jack Brouwer, UCI Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the National Center for fuel cell research based at the UCI.

“The massive storage and resilient underground transmission and distribution of renewable energy that will be enabled by the transformation of the gas system to use clean, renewable hydrogen will be studied and advanced in this important effort.”

SoCalGas’ collaboration with UCI is part of a hydrogen blending demonstration application filed jointly with San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Southwest Gas on Thursday with the California Public Utilities Commission.