SoCalGas wins $750,000 California Energy Commission grant to develop renewable H2 from biogas

The California Energy Commission awarded SoCalGas a $750,000 grant to pursue the development of a novel H2 production system using biogas to create affordable, scalable renewable H2.

The project will build upon innovations in modular H2 production technology to create a system powered by renewable electricity that can use renewable gas such as biogas from landfills, wastewater treatment plants or dairy farms as a feedstock to produce low-cost clean H2. Additionally, the system will produce H2 at a lower temperature, without needing combustion, thereby eliminating nitrogen oxide emissions. The project expects to develop a bench-scale demonstration that is both modular and scalable, offering a flexible means of creating renewable H2.

“SoCalGas is at the forefront of hydrogen innovation as we look to decarbonize California through the use of clean fuels,” said Neil Navin, SoCalGas Vice President, Clean Energy Innovations. “We are thankful for the CEC’s continued efforts to support technology and innovation to scale-up hydrogen production. This project will help us get that much closer to net zero by developing a method to create affordable, renewable hydrogen at scale to bring down prices and provide an important tool to help us reduce carbon emissions.”

“We continue to advance low-carbon hydrogen production for targeted, hard-to-electrify end use applications that support a clean energy economy. Technologies such as those being explored by SoCalGas are an important step towards decarbonizing hydrogen," said Jonah Steinbuck, deputy director of the CEC's Research and Development Division.

This project aims to lower costs of producing renewable H2 to $1.39 per kilogram, comparable to the cost of producing H2 via more conventional means, while also reducing emissions up to 95%. When powered by renewable electricity, the system will produce low-carbon or carbon-negative H2 and capture all the CO2 co-product for use in feedstock, CO2-based fuels, microalgae fuels and products and concrete building materials. The demonstration system will be designed to produce 5 kilograms of H2 per day.

This project is being developed in partnership with Susteon and Build Momentum, which specializes in administering and managing grant-funded energy innovation projects. Testing of the system is expected to begin in 2023.