Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) has joined with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) to launch demonstration projects to create and test a carbon-free, power-to-gas system for the first time ever in the USA.
Using electrolyzer-based methods, the power-to-gas concept uses electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power, to make carbon-free hydrogen gas by breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be converted to synthetic, renewable methane — traditional natural gas — and stored to meet future energy needs. It can also be used as a multi-purpose energy source for vehicles, micro-turbines, fuel cells or other equipment. Located at the NFCRC at the University of California, Irvine and NREL's laboratories in Golden, Colorado, the power-to-gas demonstrations will also assess the feasibility and potential benefits of using the natural gas pipeline system to store photovoltaic and wind-produced energy. Initial project results are expected by year end.