Across the Sempra family of companies, we invest in state-of-the-art technologies, processes and infrastructure to drive our companies forward. In this Sempra Spotlight series, you’ll learn more about how we live our value, shape the future.
To progress on its mission of being the cleanest gas utility in North America, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) continues to be on the front lines of energy innovation to advance the delivery of affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable energy to customers.
SoCalGas is working to make the fuel it delivers increasingly renewable and is supporting innovation surrounding renewable hydrogen. ”Green hydrogen” is made from excess solar and wind energy, allowing these renewables to be stored for weeks, months or even years—something batteries cannot do.
How to Convert Solar and Wind Energy into Renewable Hydrogen Gas
image credit SoCalGas
In some countries, renewable hydrogen is being blended with natural gas in the existing pipeline system. Alternatively, renewable hydrogen can be converted into renewable methane by adding carbon recycled from industrial sources after the electrolysis process. The resulting renewable methane can then be injected into the natural gas pipeline system and used in everything from home appliances to industrial processes, engines and power plants.
How to Convert Hydrogen into Renewable Natural Gas
image credit SoCalGas
To further the development of this technology, SoCalGas teamed with the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) to launch one of the first U.S. power-to-gas projects in 2016. An electrolyzer powered by the on-campus solar electric system was installed at UCI, which feeds its renewable hydrogen to the campus power plant.
Another priority in SoCalGas’ mission to become North America’s cleanest gas utility is encouraging the use of clean transportation. SoCalGas supports California’s goals to reduce carbon emissions. To help accomplish this, the company has created multiple transportation-related initiatives to help reduce emissions from the transportation sector, the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.
SoCalGas has worked with a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty truck engines to meet near-zero emissions specifications, specifically for transit, refuse and drayage use. The engines have achieved a 90% reduction from the 2010 California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards. Each year, more and more of these cleaner heavy-duty trucks are being deployed, helping improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases in the Los Angeles area and the state’s transportation corridors.