Hydrogen, a critical component of the Bay Area’s energy transition, will be produced at the Republic Services landfill in Richmond beginning next year, owing in part to a Chevron and other partners’ investment.
Raven SR Inc., a renewable fuels company, announced last week that it has received a $20 million investment from Chevron, ITOCHU Corporation, Hyzon Motors Inc., and Ascent Hydrogen Fund to build modular waste-to-green hydrogen production units and renewable synthetic fuel facilities in California, with plans to expand globally. The investment is part of a larger effort to build a green hydrogen fuel infrastructure that will, among other things, provide a zero-emission energy source for commercial and passenger vehicles.
One of those waste-to-green hydrogen production facilities is proposed for the West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill in Richmond, according to Republic Services. Raven intends to process up to 99.9 tons of organic garbage collected by Republic Services every day beginning in 2022, producing up to 2,000 mt of green hydrogen per year.
According to Republic Services, the hydrogen will be resold in commercial fueling stations in Northern California to power passenger and heavy-duty fuel cell vehicles, thanks to a unique procedure that avoids combustion and uses less water than rival technologies.
Although there is currently no technology to supply heavy-duty vehicles with electric power, hydrogen is a zero-emission alternative that offers similar fuelling times and mileage, among other advantages.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt praised the development, saying it puts the city “in the vanguard of renewable and carbon-free energy.” The mayor went to the UC Field Station in February to see a replica of the Republic Services factory.
In his e-forum newsletter, he stated, “This is a different process than the landfill methane to energy conversion that Republic has been doing in Richmond for years.” “It’s also not the same as rubbish incineration, which emits hazardous gases.”
Raven claims that their hydrogen generating machines can accept carbonaceous waste such as biomass, as well as plastics, paper, medical waste, and toxic waste, with the exception of metals and glass.
According to Raven, “we heat the waste till it transforms to syngas, then separate the hydrogen from the carbon, either reforming it into synthetic fuels or extracting the hydrogen and sequestering the carbon.”
Raven claims that its technology can manufacture synthetic liquid fuels (including diesel), additives, and solvents, as well as power from microturbines and sustainable aviation fuel.
Chevron’s investment in green hydrogen generation is in line with the company’s goal of developing a “commercially viable hydrogen value chain” that will bring lower-carbon energy options to a number of industries.
“This is an exciting opportunity to develop green hydrogen technology with partners in the Bay Area that can complement our existing hydrogen infrastructure at Chevron Richmond,” said Alice Flesher, general manager of Strategy and Planning for Chevron’s global Downstream & Chemicals businesses.
Raven CEO Matt Murdock expressed gratitude to its investors and also to Republic Services for providing “a foundation to produce green hydrogen for commercial use in the transportation sector in Northern California.”
“As we bring this system online under very strict environmental regulatory controls, we will demonstrate we can convert waste anywhere,” Murdock said. “We’re excited to be working in the City of Richmond to provide green hydrogen with the aim of also improving air quality.”
Pete Keller, vice president of recycling and sustainability at Republic Services, said the project also helps the company’s customers meet sustainability goals.
“We believe it’s imperative to achieve greater circularity with the materials we handle to help preserve the environment now and for future generations,” Keller said.