Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Bloom Energy will showcase the future of the hydrogen economy and the technologies needed to help California reach carbon neutrality.
The companies will collaborate to produce hydrogen and then blend it into a university customer’s existing natural gas network to demonstrate how the natural gas infrastructure can be decarbonised while balancing future energy supply and demand. The project is set to launch in 2022 on the campus of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.
The collaboration will use Bloom Energy’s solid oxide, high-temperature electrolyser to generate hydrogen, which will then be injected into Caltech’s natural gas infrastructure. The resulting 10% hydrogen blend will be converted into electricity without combustion through existing Bloom Energy fuel cells downstream of the SoCalGas meter, producing electricity for a portion of the university. For the purpose of this project, the electrolyser is designed to generate hydrogen from grid electricity.
At scale, the electrolyser and fuel cell combination could enable long-duration clean energy storage and low-carbon distributed power generation through the gas network. When configured as a microgrid, it could also provide resilient power when and where energy is needed most.
Maryam Brown, president of SoCalGas, said, “Projects like this expand and accelerate clean fuel initiatives, which will help decarbonise California faster.”
Sharelynn Moore, executive VP at Bloom Energy, said, “Enabling both the production and utilisation of hydrogen, Bloom Energy’s solutions are well-suited to support use of the natural gas network to reduce carbon emissions while bolstering energy resilience.”