Southern Company (an American gas and electric utility holding company based in the southern US), is playing a leading role in a new research and development (R&D) project to study technical barriers to blending hydrogen in natural gas infrastructure and examine life-cycle emissions of hydrogen blends.
The company subsidiary Southern Company Gas will spearhead the project called ‘HyBlend’, which would require around US$ 15 million. The HyBlend project will also involve various other R&D organisations and companies.
This two-year project was selected by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy through the H2@Scale 2020 CRADA Call.
The HyBlend team is comprised of six DOE national laboratories ― National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory, and more than 20 participants from industry and academia. The team will receive more than $10 million of funding from EERE, with an additional $4 to $5 million of contributions from participants.
Dr Mark S. Berry, vice president of R&D at Southern Company, said: “Emerging technologies such as hydrogen will be key as we work to achieve our enterprise-wide goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”
The HyBlend project is trying to answer some research questions such as are pipelines compatible with hydrogen? What are the costs and environmental impacts? How will hydrogen blends affect appliances and other equipment in buildings?
The HyBlend project is organised into three research tasks, each led by national laboratories with existing research and capabilities in that area. The three areas are Hydrogen compatibility of piping and pipelines, life-cycle analysis and techno-economic analysis.