In a national first, UC Irvine injects renewable hydrogen into campus power supply

University of California, Irvine engineers have successfully implemented the first power-to-gas hydrogen pipeline injection project in the United States, demonstrating the use of excess clean electricity that would otherwise go to waste.

“One of the big challenges we’ve faced in adding wind and solar to the grid is what to do with the excess electricity,” said Jack Brouwer, associate director of its Advanced Power & Energy Program. “We’ve shown you need not halt renewable power generation when demand is low. Instead, the excess electricity can be used to make hydrogen that can be easily integrated into existing natural gas pipeline infrastructure.”

The pilot project began last summer with funding from the Southern California Gas Co. and the participation of Proton OnSite, provider of an electrolyzer that produces hydrogen from electricity and water. APEP engineers worked with Facilities Management technicians to install the new equipment adjacent to the campus’s power plant. Since then, the process has been closely monitored by researchers trying to determine whether P2G is feasible on statewide or regional power grids. Such systems are currently in place in Germany and Canada.

“Our initial testing indicates smooth operation for this first successful U.S. proof of concept,” said Brouwer, associate professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering. “Storage of the hydrogen in existing natural gas infrastructure could produce a massive hydrogen battery that could become the most important technology for enabling a 100 percent renewable future.”

 

Full article can be found here: here.

 

January 4th, 2017 - 15:52h