The two companies intend to produce green hydrogen and subsequently inject into the natural gas grid for storage and use


SoCalGas intends to select the location of the initial project in 2021. (Credit: LoggaWiggler from Pixabay)

Sempra Energy subsidiaries Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) have launched hydrogen blending demonstration programme, which aims to establish a hydrogen injection standard in California, the US.

The programme forms part of the two utilities’ multi-pronged strategy to decarbonise their natural gas grid by blending zero-emission fuel hydrogen with natural gas.

It is also expected to contribute to California’s climate goals, and the two firms aim to become the cleanest and most innovative energy companies in America.

By leveraging surplus renewable power generated in the middle of the day, the two companies intend to produce green hydrogen and subsequently inject into the natural gas grid for storage and use.

Sempra Energy group president Kevin Sagara and SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric chairman said: “This hydrogen blending program is a key milestone in our efforts to decarbonise our energy system, while delivering affordable and reliable energy to 22 million California customers.”

The demonstration programme, when adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), would provide ways to safely incorporate hydrogen fuel into the gas grid.

Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) said: “Green hydrogen is a game-changer, not only for our power and energy needs, but also for our industrial and transportation sectors.

“And green hydrogen can support existing, good-paying jobs as our state and communities take steps to transition to a zero-carbon economy.”

As part of a wider plan to build multiple hydrogen blending projects, SoCalGas and SDG&E will initially launch a project to blend hydrogen into an isolated section of polyethylene (PE) plastic distribution system in the service territory of SoCalGas.

The firms are planning for initial hydrogen blend level at 1% and may increase it to as much as 20%.

Earlier next year, SoCalGas will select the location of the initial project.

In 2015, SoCalGas, in partnership with the National Fuel Cell Research Center, and University of California Irvine, launched the first power-to-gas demonstration project in the US.

Earlier this year, SoCalGas, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and Opus 12 have collaborated to advance an electrochemical technology designed to convert the carbon dioxide (CO2) content in raw biogas to pipeline-quality renewable natural gas.