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SoCalGas and Bloom Energy powering Caltech with innovative campus H2 project

(PRNewswire)--Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and Bloom Energy, announced the powering of a portion of Caltech's grid with an innovative H2 project that demonstrates how H2 could potentially offer a strong solution for long-duration clean energy storage and dispatchable power generation.

The project showcases how leveraging existing infrastructure with electrolyzers and fuel cell technology may be able to create microgrids that deliver resilient power and can help to safeguard businesses, communities, and campuses from power disruptions. If developed at scale, this technology may help further California Governor Gavin Newsom's recent strategic initiatives to develop a H2 economy.

"It is becoming clearer with each passing day that H2 can and should play a key role in California's efforts to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels," said Senator Bob Archuleta, Chair of the Senate Select Committee on H2 Energy. "Moreover, I am excited to see Caltech, one of our nation's leading institutions, serving as a testbed for the use of H2 with this new and innovative technology on their campus."

"This collaborative effort represents a significant step in harnessing H2 as a resilient, clean energy solution that's in line with Governor Newsom's vision for California," said Maryam Brown, President at SoCalGas. "Integrating cutting-edge electrolyzers and fuel cell technology into existing infrastructure demonstrates the potential for building robust microgrids, enhancing power resiliency for businesses, communities and campuses at scale."

"We commend Governor Newsom and SoCalGas for their vision and leadership on the important work to develop the H2 economy," said Greg Cameron, President and Chief Financial Officer at Bloom Energy. "As a California manufacturer of Bloom Electrolyzers®, we are uniquely positioned to advance the goals of delivering clean and reliable energy in a post-carbon economy. We are working on a number of major opportunities to deliver our electrolyzers to customers to help grow H2 as a significant energy source in the U.S. and internationally."

This project takes water from Caltech's service line and runs it through Bloom Energy's solid oxide electrolyzer, which uses grid energy to create H2. The resulting H2 is injected into Caltech's natural gas infrastructure upstream of Bloom Energy fuel cells, creating up to a 20% blend of H2 and natural gas. All of this fuel blend is then converted into electricity with Bloom Energy's fuel cells, and the electricity is then distributed for use on campus.

Blending H2 into natural gas infrastructure statewide – which could help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and ultimately drive down H2 costs by scaling production – first requires developing a H2 injection standard. The global H2 economy is projected to potentially produce as much as 80 gigatons of carbon abatement by 2050, which represents approximately 11% of required cumulative emissions reductions.

SoCalGas is working to help develop a state H2 blending standard by proposing pilot projects for approval by the CPUC. These projects could help to better understand how clean fuels like clean renewable H2 could be delivered through California's natural gas system.

Just this year, SoCalGas unveiled its award winning H2 Innovation Experience, a state-of-the-art demonstration project designed to show the potential resiliency and reliability of a H2 microgrid.

When coupled with renewable energy, clean H2 could help facilitate a scalable, resilient and decarbonized energy system. SoCalGas is working to help shape California's 21st century energy system through investments in H2, renewable natural gas, fuel cells and carbon management.