Californian hydrogen distribution test could lead to rapid H2 fueling station expansionDecember 21, 2020
SoCalGas will be trialling a new device separating hydrogen from natural gas when blended in pipelines.
Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas) recently announced that it would be field testing a new hydrogen distribution technology.
SoCalGas is using this test in the hopes of adopting the technology to supply carbon-free fuel.
The SoCalGas field test is focusing on a new tech for blended hydrogen distribution. It works on blended H2 and natural gas, simultaneously separating and compressing the hydrogen. Though the field test will be small, the goal is to understand its viability on a much larger level. Should it function well, at scale, the tech would make it possible to simply and affordably transport the gas by way of the existing natural gas pipeline system.
Using the tech, the H2 could be extracted and compressed at fueling stations. Those stations could provide convenient refueling opportunities for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). As fueling station infrastructure is among the primary challenges to the widespread adoption of FCEVs, this technology could open many doors to this zero-emission fuel in passenger vehicles, but also in transport trucks, buses, and other larger and heavy-duty vehicles.
The new hydrogen distribution technology being tested was created by HyET Hydrogen.
HyET Hydrogen is based in the Netherlands. Its technology was created to be used with existing natural gas distribution systems to provide pure, highly compressed H2.
This test follows closely on the heels of a new program announcement by SoCalGas. That program is for blending H2 into the state’s natural gas pipelines. Should the program receive regulatory approval, it would become the first step in adding hydrogen to the Californian natural gas grid.
“This innovative technology could be a game-changer, allowing hydrogen to be distributed to wherever it is needed using the natural gas grid,” said SoCalGas vice president of clean energy innovations Neil Navin. “As demand increases for zero-emissions vehicles such as fuel cell electric cars, California will need thousands more hydrogen fueling stations—and this technology may help make that possible.”
“We are excited to deploy our newest technology in collaboration with SoCalGas,” said HyET Hydrogen USA director Alexis Dubois about the new hydrogen distribution tech test. “Our gas separation system is designed to allow hydrogen to be transported across long distances affordably using existing natural gas pipelines. With this technology, hydrogen can become a commonly used fuel for transportation, industrial applications and more.”