Energy

California gas blending trial could shift a roadblock for hydrogen cars

California gas blending trial ...
Blending hydrogen into existing natural gas infrastructure at up to 20 per of the total volume could be an easy and effective way to get renewable hydrogen distributed across cities
Blending hydrogen into existing natural gas infrastructure at up to 20 percent of the total volume could be an easy and effective way to get renewable hydrogen distributed across cities
View 1 Image
Blending hydrogen into existing natural gas infrastructure at up to 20 per of the total volume could be an easy and effective way to get renewable hydrogen distributed across cities
1/1
Blending hydrogen into existing natural gas infrastructure at up to 20 percent of the total volume could be an easy and effective way to get renewable hydrogen distributed across cities

One of the key issues making hydrogen less attractive than batteries for EV use is distribution. Hydrogen needs to be kept cold and pressurized, and in a renewable energy context it's generated intermittently, making the logistics of trucking it around considerably tougher than those of gasoline.

But hydrogen blending technology offers a potential solution: injecting hydrogen directly into the existing natural gas grid could push it quickly and efficiently out across an entire city, and gas stations could simply separate it out and suck it back out of the gas pipelines to fill their tanks. The distribution problem would disappear, enabling hydrogen pumps to pop up all over town.

To test the concept, SoCalGas is setting up a hydrogen blending demonstration program that will see surplus renewable energy electrolyzed into hydrogen gas, which will be blended into the natural gas supply. An isolated segment of the grid will be chosen early next year – one that uses mainly polyethylene piping – and hydrogen will be blended in at an initial proportion of around 1 percent, potentially rising as high as 20 perent during testing.

A hydrogen-natural gas blend at these proportions behaves almost identically to a regular compressed natural gas feed when it's burned to power kitchen stoves, boilers, hot water services and other such appliances. The main difference is a reduction in CO2 emissions at the burn site. Only once blends reach the 30-40 percent level does it really need to be treated much differently to a normal gas line. This is not the first such trial globally, but it will be among the first in the United States.

On the other end, SoCalGas has also announced it's working with Dutch company HyET Hydrogen to deploy HyET's Electrochemical Hydrogen Purification and Compression (EHPC) technology to get the H2 out of the gas pipes and into a compressed storage tank. The EHPC system uses an electrically-actuated, hydrogen-selective membrane to suck the small hydrogen molecules through without allowing the methane and other natural gas molecules through.

The initial deployment is expected to extract and compress about 10 kg (22 lb) of hydrogen per day, but within two years that figure will rise tenfold. As 100 kg (220 lb) of compressed hydrogen would be enough to fill up about 20 fuel-cell cars, so it's not far from that point to a commercially workable solution for gas stations.

If gas stations can easily hook themselves up to a reliable and fuss-free hydrogen source, then a lack of H2 pumps could quickly cease to be a barrier for fuel-cell vehicles. The same infrastructure could also feed larger trucking depots or airports where hydrogen-fueled aircraft stop to refuel.

Check out a short video below.

A New and Easy Way to Transport Hydrogen

Source: SoCalGas

15 comments
15 comments
usugo
Hydrogen use is already just marginally better than burning fossil fuels in term of efficiency. Add another 1-2 steps, and it will be completely pointless from the standpoint of reducing emissions. And the renewable energy used to produce the hydrogen would be better spent to feed the grid directly and power electric machines
FB36
"One of the key issues making hydrogen less attractive than batteries for EV use is distribution."

The real deal breaker problem w/ using hydrogen as fuel is it is explosive!
Otherwise, hydrogen as fuel was first considered many decades ago but its explosive dangers were quickly noticed!
Except today some people are behaving as absolutely nothing is known about explosive dangers of hydrogen fuel!

Are we seriously thinking there will be never traffic accidents & massive explosions(!), if hydrogen fuel ever becomes widely used?
Username
How much is the separator/compressor and can I install one at my home? There already is a wonderful electric distribution system set up. The motivator behind the hydrogen push seems to be a desperate attempt by non electricity related folks to grab a piece of the automotive profit pie.
William Donelson
Wake up. Hydrogen is just ANOTHER centralised power source that BIG OIL will own. It's a terrible idea for vehicles, as the storage density is comparison is awful:

Liquid hydrogen has a density of 8 MJ/L whereas gasoline has a density of 32 MJ/L

Also, the possiblity of explosion of liquid hydrogen (at incredible pressure) is much greater than for gasoline.

Electric is the way to go. FORGET HYDROGEN. It's a SCAM.
Herb Handyman
I think this is a really great method of transporting hydrogen. But the question I have is, wouldn't the gas station need to purchase/lease a compressor? My experience with operating a CNG trade van meant I had to locate stations, which all had ready access to NG, with operating compressors. They needed to compress the gas to about 3,000 psi (about the same as a scuba tank) and store it for later dispensing. None of the stations I used could afford the compressor installation and leased them instead. The cost was so high that eventually most discontinued CNG fueling. As fewer and fewer fueling points were available, eventually I had to find another mode of motivation, ie; gasoline.
RobC
Wow, that's really clever. I wonder what the overhead cost of mixing and separating adds to the fuel cost. Still, it's got to be cheaper than new dedicated infrastructure.
Expanded Viewpoint
Did anyone else notice that it said the testing zone would be mainly made up of polyethylene piping? It looks like they are taking into consideration the fact that Hydrogen makes metals brittle and easy to break! This is just another boondoggle that in the end will cost the public money. You don't think those CEOs are going to foot the bill, do you??

Randy
DaveWesely
""But electric technology offers a potential solution: installing charge points directly into the electric grid could push it quickly and efficiently out across an entire city, and gas stations could simply replace gas pumps with fast charge points to recharge car batteries. The distribution problem would disappear, enabling car batteries to charge up in home garages all over town.""
DaveWesely
So this could refuel 2 H2 cars PER DAY, with a potential increase to 20 cars per day. My guess is most gas stations refuel more cars than that in an HOUR.
fasteddie2020
For gawd's sake.....just put the renewable electricity into the grid and charge cars, trucks and run home, factories and machinery. Is this just an attempt to preserve gas stations? The wasted energy in this scam is astonishing!!
Load More