At its Engineering Analysis Center and Centralized Training Facility, SoCalGas recently launched a hydrogen blending test.
The test evaluates the performance of typical household equipment such as stoves, wall heaters, and forced-air furnaces when powered by a hydrogen-natural-gas combination. This is a critical step for future natural gas grid integration. SoCalGas is one of the first utilities in the US to conduct a controlled field test of the impact of a hydrogen mix on natural gas infrastructure and equipment.
The domestic natural gas appliances are compatible with up to a 20% hydrogen mix, according to preliminary results of testing that began earlier this summer. These preliminary results are in line with prior international research and laboratory testing. The effects of mixing hydrogen with natural gas on pipes and appliances are still being investigated.
As part of this research, engineers are focusing on safety and training, as well as checking for pipeline breaches. SoCalGas will use this knowledge to conduct larger-scale hydrogen blending trials in the future.
“In a net-zero-emissions California, clean fuels like hydrogen will be critical in supporting a reliable electric grid, eliminating emissions from hard-to-electrify sectors of the economy like transportation and industry, and making the transition to a clean energy economy affordable,” said Neil Navin, vice president of clean energy innovations for SoCalGas. “The European Hydrogen Backbone Initiative is an excellent illustration of how collaboration may help us achieve our objectives faster. There, 23 countries are repurposing 70% of their existing natural gas infrastructure to transport clean hydrogen to a cluster of demand centers across the European Union.”
Assemblymember Bill Quirk stated, “Investing in tests that attempt to illustrate the potential of hydrogen is critical to discovering solutions that might assist us handle our present climate problem.” “The dedication of SoCalGas to decarbonization technologies aids the energy transition.”