SoCalGas and Bloom Energy Showcase Technology to Power Hydrogen Economy with Gas Blending Project
Blending hydrogen into the existing natural gas infrastructure provides long-term benefits for energy storage and resiliency
LOS ANGELES, Calif. and SAN JOSE, Calif., December 14, 2021 — Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, and Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE) today announced a project to showcase the future of the hydrogen economy and the technologies needed to help California reach carbon neutrality. The companies will collaborate to generate and then blend hydrogen into a university customer’s existing natural gas network to demonstrate how the natural gas infrastructure can be decarbonized, while balancing future energy supply and demand. The project is set to launch next year on the campus of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.
“California has ambitious climate goals and a successful energy transition will require companies to collaborate and implement innovative projects,” said California State Assembly member Chris Holden.
“This unique demonstration could help our state transition to a carbon neutral future.” The collaboration will utilize Bloom Energy’s solid oxide, high temperature electrolyzer to generate hydrogen, which will then be injected into Caltech’s natural gas infrastructure. The resulting 10 percent hydrogen blend will be converted into electricity without combustion through existing Bloom Energy fuel cells downstream of the SoCalGas meter, producing electricity for a portion of the university. For the purpose of this project, the electrolyzer is designed to generate hydrogen from grid electricity.
At scale, the electrolyzer and fuel cell combination could enable long duration clean energy storage and low-carbon distributed power generation through the gas network for businesses, residential neighborhoods, and dense urban areas. When configured as a microgrid, it could also provide resilient power when and where energy is needed most, protecting businesses, campuses or neighborhoods from widespread power outages.
“We need to pursue a diverse set of decarbonization levers,” said Maryam Brown, president, SoCalGas.
“Projects like this expand and accelerate clean fuel initiatives, which will help decarbonize California faster.”
Bloom’s high-temperature electrolyzer produces hydrogen more efficiently than low-temperature PEM and alkaline electrolyzers. Because it operates at high temperatures, the Bloom Electrolyzer requires less energy to break up water molecules and produce hydrogen. Electricity accounts for nearly 80 percent of the cost of hydrogen from electrolysis. By using less electricity, hydrogen production becomes more economical and will accelerate adoption. The Bloom Electrolyzer is also designed to produce green hydrogen from 100 percent renewable power.
“With our technology and collaborations like this one, Bloom Energy continues to lead advancements in decarbonizing today’s energy system and accelerating a hydrogen-fueled economy,” said Sharelynn Moore, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Bloom Energy. “Enabling both the production and utilization of hydrogen, Bloom Energy’s solutions are well-suited to support use of the natural gas network to reduce carbon emissions while bolstering energy resilience.”
A new economy-wide technical analysis released by SoCalGas revealed that fuel cell technology, powered by clean fuels like hydrogen, can provide additional reliability and resiliency that will be in increasing demand as California moves towards its decarbonization goals.
Today, SoCalGas is actively engaged in more than 10 pilot projects related to hydrogen, including its award-winning H2 Hydrogen Home. SoCalGas is also evaluating the potential to use existing infrastructure for transporting hydrogen through testing and demonstration at its engineering analysis center and is collaborating with California’s other gas utilities and research institutions to develop a hydrogen blending standard for regulatory review.
Bloom Energy is engaged with industry leaders to accelerate the global hydrogen economy, including projects related to producing low-cost, green hydrogen and utilizing nuclear energy to create clean hydrogen.
To learn more about SoCalGas’ net zero goals, please visit: socalgas.com/mission
To see how Bloom Energy is powering the future, visit: bloomenergy.com/technology/powering-the-future/
Headquartered in Los Angeles, SoCalGas® is the largest gas distribution utility in the United States. SoCalGas delivers affordable, reliable, and increasingly renewable gas service to 21.8 million consumers across 24,000 square miles of Central and Southern California. Gas delivered through the company’s pipelines will continue to play a key role in California’s clean energy transition—providing electric grid reliability and supporting wind and solar energy deployment. SoCalGas’ mission is to build the cleanest, safest and most innovative energy company in America. In support of that mission, SoCalGas is committed to the goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and delivery of energy by 2045 and to replacing 20 percent of its traditional natural gas supply to core customers with renewable natural gas (RNG) by 2030. Renewable natural gas is made from waste created by dairy farms, landfills, and wastewater treatment plants. SoCalGas is also committed to investing in its gas delivery infrastructure while keeping bills affordable for customers. SoCalGas is a subsidiary of Sempra (NYSE: SRE), an energy services holding company based in San Diego. For more information visit socalgas.com/newsroom or connect with SoCalGas on Twitter (@SoCalGas), Instagram (@SoCalGas) and Facebook.
About Bloom Energy
Bloom Energy’s mission is to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world. Bloom’s product, the Bloom Energy Server, delivers highly reliable and resilient, always-on electric power that is clean, cost-effective, and ideal for microgrid applications. Bloom’s customers include many Fortune 100 companies and leaders in manufacturing, data centers, healthcare, retail, higher education, utilities, and other industries. For more information, visit www.bloomenergy.com.
This press release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on assumptions with respect to the future, involve risks and uncertainties, and are not guarantees. Future results may differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other factors. In this press release, forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “estimates,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “will,” “confident,” “may,” “can,” “potential,” “possible,” “proposed,” “in process,” “under construction,” “in development,” “target,” “outlook,” “maintain,” “continue,” “goal,” “aim,” “commit,” or similar expressions, or when we discuss our guidance, priorities, strategy, goals, vision, mission, opportunities, projections, intentions or expectations. Factors, among others, that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those described in any forward-looking statements include risks and uncertainties relating to: decisions, investigations, regulations, issuances or revocations of permits and other authorizations, renewals of franchises, and other actions by (i) the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), U.S. Department of Energy, and other regulatory and governmental bodies and (ii) states, counties, cities and other jurisdictions in the U.S. in which we do business; the success of business development efforts and construction projects, including risks in (i) completing construction projects or other transactions on schedule and budget, (ii) the ability to realize anticipated benefits from any of these efforts if completed, and (iii) obtaining the consent of partners or other third parties; the resolution of civil and criminal litigation, regulatory inquiries, investigations and proceedings, and arbitrations, including, among others, those related to the natural gas leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility; actions by credit rating agencies to downgrade our credit ratings or to place those ratings on negative outlook and our ability to borrow on favorable terms and meet our substantial debt service obligations; actions to reduce or eliminate reliance on natural gas, including any deterioration of or increased uncertainty in the political or regulatory environment for local natural gas distribution companies operating in California; weather, natural disasters, pandemics, accidents, equipment failures, explosions, acts of terrorism, information system outages or other events that disrupt our operations, damage our facilities and systems, cause the release of harmful materials, cause fires or subject us to liability for property damage or personal injuries, fines and penalties, some of which may not be covered by insurance, may be disputed by insurers or may otherwise not be recoverable through regulatory mechanisms or may impact our ability to obtain satisfactory levels of affordable insurance; the availability of natural gas and natural gas storage capacity, including disruptions caused by limitations on the withdrawal of natural gas from storage facilities; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on capital projects, regulatory approvals and the execution of our operations; cybersecurity threats to the storage and pipeline infrastructure, information and systems used to operate our businesses, and confidentiality of our proprietary information and personal information of our customers and employees, including ransomware attacks on our systems and the systems of third-party vendors and other parties with which we conduct business; volatility in inflation and interest rates and commodity prices and our ability to effectively hedge these risks; changes in tax and trade policies, laws and regulations, including tariffs and revisions to international trade agreements that may increase our costs, reduce our competitiveness, or impair our ability to resolve trade disputes; and other uncertainties, some of which may be difficult to predict and are beyond our control. Some of these risks and uncertainties are further discussed in the reports that Sempra and Bloom Energy have filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These reports are available through the EDGAR system free-of-charge on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, on Sempra’s website, www.sempra.com, and Bloom Energy’s website, www.bloomenergy.com. Investors should not rely unduly on any forward-looking statements. Neither party undertakes any obligation to revise or publicly update any forward-looking statements unless if and as required by law.