First Power-to-Gas Project in US Launched
Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) is working with the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboraotry (NREL) and the National Fuel Cell Research Centre (NFCRC) to launch the first ever power-to-gas system in the US.
Excess energy produced from renewable sources is converted into gaseous energy that could be stored on a large-scale and cost-effectively. The technology uses electrolyzer-based methods to make carbon-free hydrogen gas by breaking down water into hydrogen and oxygen. This is then converted to methane (natural gas) that is stored.
Such systems are already available on a commercial scale in Germany and are currently being explored worldwide. This would allow natural gas utilities in North America to use existing pipeline infrastructure as a “battery” to store the energy.
While batteries have been the standard form of storage so far, they are expensive, have limited capacity and relatively short duration. Comparatively, power-to-gas systems offer higher and longer term storage capacity that could potentially create the world’s largest storage technology
Initial project results are expected by the end of the year.
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