Commercial, GHG Emissions, Regulation, Sourcing Renewables - September 12, 2022
SDG&E Submits Proposal for Hydrogen Project
San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) submitted a proposal with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Sept. 8 for a demonstration project on the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) campus to study how blending hydrogen with natural gas in the existing gas system could help achieve a successful energy transition for all Californians.
If approved by the CPUC, the project would study the feasibility of injecting up to 20% of hydrogen into plastic natural gas pipe, a common material used in the natural gas infrastructure. An isolated section of a gas line serving a UC San Diego apartment complex would use hydrogen blended gas for common building equipment such as boilers and water heaters. Hydrogen used in this study would be produced onsite via a dedicated, grid-connected electrolyzer. The results of the study would help inform the development of a renewable hydrogen blending standard for California.
The project is part of SDG&E’s multi-pronged sustainability strategy to explore the feasibility of emerging technologies to rapidly decarbonize multiple economic sectors – from buildings and transportation to industrial and manufacturing processes – to help California reach its carbon neutrality goal by 2045.
“Achieving the state’s climate goals, including reaching carbon neutrality by 2045, will require a broad range of clean energy technologies. That’s why we are investing in the research, development and demonstration of emerging hydrogen innovations that have the potential to be a game changer,” said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn in a statement.
The UC system aims to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings and fleet by 2025. UC San Diego is a global leader in advanced battery and energy storage research and deployment, and it’s home to a microgrid powered by a fuel cell and the Deep Decarbonization Initiative.
“At UC San Diego, we take tremendous pride in fostering innovations and developing solutions to real-world problems,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Sustainability and public service have been a key part of the university since its founding. That’s why we are helping to support California’s decarbonization efforts through this pilot project exploring the economical and safe use of blended hydrogen.”
The project would fulfill a key recommendation in a recent “Hydrogen Blending Impacts” study (sponsored by the CPUC and performed by UC Riverside) calling on utilities to conduct “real world demonstration of hydrogen blending” to fill knowledge gaps that cannot be addressed through modeling or lab experiments.