SoCalGas partners on project seeking to decarbonize commercial, and industrial uses with hydrogen

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) is collaborating with GTI Energy to study the use of hydrogen and hydrogen blending in hard-to-decarbonize commercial and industrial processes, continuing its efforts to help the company and California achieve net-zero aspirations.

The aim of the project is to study the use of hydrogen in heavy equipment, blended with natural gas up to 100 percent hydrogen, with an emphasis on end-uses that cannot easily be electrified. The focus of the study will be on costs, safety, and emissions reductions when introducing hydrogen to commercial and industrial uses.

GTI Energy will lead the effort in collaboration with Utilization Technology Development, NFP (UTD), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). SoCalGas has awarded $752,000 to help fund the project, which is in addition to a $1.77 million grant approved by the California Energy Commission in July 2022.

The study will survey large commercial and industrial users to understand which equipment has the highest potential for decarbonization with hydrogen blends, including industries such as steelmaking, glass, cement, aerospace, and agriculture. After identifying those uses, the project team will then test commercial and industrial equipment fuel blending up to 100 percent hydrogen.

“One of California’s biggest challenges in achieving net zero is finding ways to decarbonize heavy industries whose functions are difficult or impossible to electrify,” said Neil Navin. “This collaboration with GTI Energy will help us identify the most promising avenues to decarbonize and take important steps toward reaching net zero through clean fuels.”

The project will lean on GTI Energy’s significant experience in the field of hydrogen applications across different sectors and aims to provide important outcomes to the industry for hydrogen implementation across multiple end-use sectors.

“We’re focused on providing options for SoCalGas’s commercial and industrial customers to decarbonize their operations with H2-based fuels, with an eye towards safety, equity, and environmental impacts. Decarbonizing California’s businesses and industry is no small task, and we’re fortunate in this effort to build on strong partnerships with SoCalGas and other utilities, in addition to an excellent technical team—including EPRI, UC Irvine, and AHRI,” said Kristine Wiley.

Hydrogen is set to play a critical part in SoCalGas’ – and California’s – energy future, particularly in decarbonizing hard-to-electrify sectors such as heavy-duty transportation, power generation, and heavy industries.

Toward that end, SoCalGas is working to develop Angeles Link, a proposed, dedicated clean renewable hydrogen pipeline system that could deliver clean, reliable, renewable energy to the Los Angeles region.

In December, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved SoCalGas’ request to track costs for advancing the first phase of the project, which could be the nation’s largest dedicated clean renewable hydrogen pipeline system and support significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty trucks, power generation, industrial processes, and other hard-to-electrify sectors of the Southern California economy. Angeles Link, the [H2] Innovation Experience, and more than a dozen hydrogen demonstration projects SoCalGas is currently pioneering, are all part of its ongoing efforts to help accelerate California’s energy transition.

Engr. Haseeb Ullah

Haseeb covers the global energy market for both conventional and modern energy resources. His expertise is on the global energy supply chain from generation to distribution and end-users. He has a Master degree in Engineering Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering.
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