Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) has commenced construction on its first-of-its-kind hydrogen generation system at SunLine Transit Agency in Thousand Palms, California.
The project, named H2 SilverSTARS, will produce hydrogen from renewable natural gas to fuel SunLine’s fleet of 17 hydrogen fuel cell electric buses.
“SunLine has been pioneering hydrogen technologies for nearly three decades and partnering with SoCalGas on this project continues the momentum necessary to make hydrogen fuelling accessible to the public. Producing clean hydrogen is the future of fuel, and this system will play a pivotal role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The technology uses a combustion-free process that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to a conventional steam methane reforming process.
The compact system is based on low-cost 12×1-inch, 3D-printed reactor disks and heat exchangers that can be easily installed at fuelling stations.
“We've been anticipating for this day to arrive and I'm excited construction has begun. Californians will need access to hydrogen and this demonstration project will provide insight during this energy transition. Once widely adopted, this project will help meet our state's climate goals.”
After installation, the first STARS system will produce up to 80 kilograms of RNG-generated hydrogen a day, which is enough to fuel three of SunLine Transit’s fuel cell electric buses.
At scale, this project has the potential to provide hydrogen at any location adjacent to a natural gas pipeline.
“For several years now, the high cost of transporting hydrogen has been the big problem with rolling out fuel cell vehicles in California. This demonstration elegantly solves the problem with a compact, mass-produced hydrogen generator that can be placed on the gas grid in close proximity to filling stations and other places where cheap hydrogen is useful. Better yet, the hydrogen can meet the new Federal 'Clean Hydrogen Standard' for regional hydrogen hubs since it can be produced from renewable natural gas.”
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