At SunLine Transit Agency’s hydrogen fueling station in Thousand Palms, California, SoCalGas will demonstrate a combination of technologies that will generate hydrogen from renewable natural gas (RNG).
The “H2 SilverSTARS” research project will generate renewable hydrogen to power SunLine’s fleet of 17 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses as well as support future expansion.
Renewable hydrogen made from RNG will be available at natural gas fueling stations—or anywhere near a natural gas pipeline—thanks to a combination of new technologies. The aim is to generate emissions-free renewable hydrogen at a cost competitive with gasoline for fuel cell electric cars and other vehicles.
Two main technologies will be combined in the demonstration project. The first, Linde’s HydroPrime HC300 MIN system, will make hydrogen from renewable natural gas the same way large centralized hydrogen production plants do—but with compact equipment small enough to fit in a tractor trailer container.
Although Linde’s system is already commercially available and in use in other countries, it will be the first time it is used in North America at SunLine’s fueling station. The SunLine site would have the capacity to generate up to 650 kilograms of hydrogen per day.
The STARS-165 SMR technology, developed by the start-up STARS Technology Corporation, expands on the Linde method. It achieves significantly greater efficiencies in producing hydrogen by using a compact microchannel design and is driven by an electricity-powered induction heating process—meaning there is no combustion—which significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional hydrogen production.