SoCalGas and H2U Technologies trail new technology to produce green hydrogen at low costs

SoCalGas and H2U Technologies trail new technology to produce green hydrogen at low costs

Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) and H2U Technologies have joined forces to test a new type of PEM electrolyser that can be stacked to produce 80 kilograms of green hydrogen a day at a low cost.

Announcing its joint effort on Tuesday (20th April), the duo said the cost target of the new device is half that of current PEM electrolysers and total cost of ownership over its life is expected to be 75% less.

Dubbed Gramme 50, the new electrolyser is designed to be built in 200 kilowatt blocks that can be stacked to produce as much green hydrogen to power up to 80 homes per day in a microgrid. The blocks can be manufactured in large numbers and added at any time to match hydrogen demand.

Read more: SoCalGas unveiled H2 Hydrogen Home project

To further test the technology SoCalGas and H2U Technologies will now carry out validation studies on the performance of new non-precious metal catalysts, materials used in very small quantities to initiate and accelerate the chemical process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

The proposed research will also include testing methods and materials that could reduce production costs and rapidly advance scale-up of manufacturing.

“Innovations that make green hydrogen production more cost-effective and scalable are critical to providing clean, safe and reliable energy for the nearly 22 million Californians we serve while reaching our net-zero emissions goal,” said Neil Navin, SoCalGas Vice-President of Clean Energy Innovations. “Partnering with H2U Technologies will provide meaningful advancements that aim to move this important technology forward.”

Read more: SoCalGas to introduce hydrogen to achieve net zero by 2045

“Renewable electricity production is expected to grow exponentially in California in the next two decades, so the ability to store it by producing green hydrogen will be crucial,” added Jim Disanto, H2U Technologies Board Chairman. “We’re excited to advance our electrolyser technologies and new catalysts with the help of SoCalGas. It will be of great benefit to Californians and all of society.”

SoCalGas’ work with H2U Technologies is part of the utility’s Research, Development and Demonstration program, which collaborates with industry experts to identify, develop, test, and commercialise transformational new energy technologies designed to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, maintain energy affordability, and advance the safety and reliability of California’s energy delivery systems.

Janice Lin, Founder and President of the Green Hydrogen Coalition, welcomed the efforts, “The massive cost reduction potential H2U’s technology offers will further accelerate the scaled production and use of green hydrogen that’s already underway,” she said.

“This is good news for our planet and for our economy— as we will be able to more quickly achieve multi-sectoral deep decarbonisation and new investment and job creation opportunities concurrently.”

Want to learn more about electrolyser technologies? Check out this feature

© Nel Hydrogen

They’re widely understood to be one of the key building blocks of the green hydrogen-based society, even cited as such by the International Energy Agency (IEA). They offer a way to produce clean hydrogen from low-carbon electricity, and they are at the fulcrum of the bold targets of the €750bn EU Hydrogen Strategy. They are, of course, electrolysers.

Analysis from the IEA has repeatedly shown that a broad portfolio of clean energy technologies will be needed to decarbonise all parts of the economy. The organisation released a new report earlier this year that named batteries and hydrogen-producing electrolysers as ‘two important technologies’ in this decarbonisaton effort, thanks to their ability to convert electricity into chemical energy and vice-versa.

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